Anti-Arizona Immigration Lawsuit Moves Forward
Opponents of SB 1070, Arizona’s much-contested immigration law, got a boost Friday when a federal judge ruled against the state’s efforts to block a lawsuit charging racial discrimination and unlawful search and seizure under the law. The lawsuit was brought by a coalition of groups including Friendly House and the ACLU. Federal judge Susan Bolton said the moment was “ripe” to bring the lawsuit, the Arizona Republic reports:
And she found merit in their arguments that portions of the controversial law may violate the Fourth and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizure; the 14th Amendment includes the “equal protection clause,” which forbids unequal treatment for different classes of people or racial discrimination.
Bolton also wrote that the plaintiffs had cause to believe their rights could be jeopardized by portions of the law.
The civil rights groups requested an injunction against the law, which was not granted because the law already went into effect — without many of its contested provisions — in July.
Bolton ruled against a few parts of the lawsuit:
For example, she did not find standing for two New Mexico residents who felt that their driver’s licenses would deny them a constitutional right to travel because that state does not verify immigration status in issuing licenses.
She rejected arguments by the ACLU that forbidding illegal immigrants from soliciting work violated the First Amendment and that the language of the law was unconstitutionally vague.
The Friendly House and ACLU lawsuit was one of seven filed against SB 1070. Two of the lawsuits, Escobar v. Brewer and Frisancho v. Brewer, have been dismissed, while two others have yet to go before Bolton. An appeals court will hear the Justice Department case against SB 1070 in November.