PHOENIX – More than two years after it was signed into law, the most contentious part of Arizona's landmark immigration legislation is expected to finally go into effect following a federal court ruling issued late Wednesday.
But the U.S. Supreme Court has laid a legal minefield that Arizona now must navigate when the critical provision takes effect. The clause, one of the few significant ones that the high court left standing in a June ruling, requires all Arizona police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop while enforcing other laws and suspect are in the country illegally.
While preserving that requirement, however, the Supreme Court explicitly left the door open to arguments that the law leads to civil rights violations. Attorneys would need actual victims to make that case.
Civil rights activists are preparing to scour the state for such victims. Lydia Guzman, who runs Respect/Respeto, a Phoenix group that tracks racial profiling, said volunteers at the organization's call center have already been told to listen for new complaints when the requirement goes into effect.
"We're watching and we're looking for cases," she said.
Barring a successful, emergency challenge of Wednesday's ruling to an appeals court — an outcome that legal observers believe is unlikely — the requirement is expected to go into effect in the next several days. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton rejected arguments by civil rights attorneys that she should prevent the requirement from kicking in, noting that the Supreme Court had specifically found that the provision should be allowed to become law. Read more at USA Today