PHOENIX – The Hispanic community lives in hopes that the appeal against what is known as the “show me your papers” section of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 immigration law will be able to stop it from taking effect this Friday.
The fear among the Hispanic community at the possible enactment of Section 2(b) led a coalition of civil organizations and defenders of human rights to request Tuesday night that the U.S. District Court in Arizona prevent the regulation from taking effect.
The plaintiffs argue that the clause discriminates against Latinos, who represent 30 percent of the Arizona population.
While the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that Section 2(b) did not violate the federal government’s exclusive jurisdiction over immigration matters, the justices did not address whether the measure would lead to racial profiling, the plaintiffs say.
Alessandra Soler, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, one of the plaintiffs in the case, told Efe that if the court decides to allow the measure to take effect, the Hispanic community has to know that they have rights.
“Police will be able to question the immigration status of a person if they have a reason to do so, for example if they are in some way breaking the law,” Soler said.
In her opinion one of the main problems of this provision is the definition of “reasonable suspicion” that would allow police to ask about someone’s immigration status.
“It’s very difficult to determine the immigration status of a person just by the color of his or her skin – and we also know it’s hard because not one agency of the state is providing a guide about what constitutes reasonable suspicion,” the activist said.
She said the term is so vague that police will be able to apply their own interpretations based on such details as accent or the way a person is dressed.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision overturning most of SB 1070 while upholding Section 2(b), the immigrant community has been waiting to see how this regulation will be applied.
The Supreme Court notified the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to hand down its decision within 25 days so that attorneys can appeal.
That time is up on Friday, when U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton is expected to lift the injunction she imposed two years ago blocking enforcement of “show me your papers.”
Lydia Guzman, representative of the Respect/Respeto group, told Efe that even if Section 2(b) goes into effect, it’s important that the Hispanic community file a complaint against any kind of abuse or indignity suffered at the hands of police officers.
Guzman said her group has already received the complaint of a U.S. citizen who was escorted by police to her home so she could show them her birth certificate and prove her nationality. EFE