Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Arizona defends SB 1070 'transport' injunction

The Republic | azcentral.com Tue Apr 2, 2013 2:53 PM
One of the statutes written into Senate Bill 1070, the controversial 2010 Arizona immigration law, makes it illegal to transport or harbor “unlawful aliens.” And though the crime is designated a misdemeanor unless there are 10 or more “aliens” involved, the police can impound your car if you are caught driving just one.
Last September, the provision was enjoined by a U.S. District Court judge in Phoenix. And, as it has done with five other portions of SB 1070 that were blocked, the state appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Today in San Francisco, lawyers for the state will face off with attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. Department of Justice, trying to persuade a three-judge appeals panel to lift the injunction.
“Arizona has been intensely impacted by the negative effects of illegal immigration, especially due to drophouses and other symptoms of the harboring and transport of illegal aliens in our communities,” said Matthew Benson, a spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer. “This provision of SB 1070 would give our local law enforcement one more tool with which to combat these crimes.”
The state will argue, among other things, that the harboring statute was in effect for two years without problems.
But Omar Jadwat, who will argue the case for the ACLU, warns that this particular statute is so vaguely written that it could make criminals of people who invite friends, relatives or co-workers to their homes or let them ride in their cars. And it could imperil workers for religious or community-based organizations.
Jadwat notes that the only exceptions to the law are made for Child Protective Services workers and ambulance drivers.
“The fact that those exceptions are written into the law shows just how broad it’s intended to be,” he said.
In her September ruling, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton wrote that the statute was pre-empted by federal immigration law. Of the six injunctions Bolton has imposed against SB 1070, one has been lifted to date.
Brewer signed SB 1070 into law in spring 2010. It was immediately challenged in lawsuits filed by the Justice Department and numerous civil-rights and advocacy groups.
Four portions of the law were blocked before they could go into effect because of the Justice Department suit. They would:
Require immigrants to carry “alien-registration papers.”
Allow for warrantless arrest if an officer thinks there is probable cause to believe the individual committed a public offense that makes him or her removable from the U.S.
Make it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work.
Require law-enforcement officers to check the legal status of people stopped during the investigation of possible crimes.
Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld all but the fourth injunction, with a caveat that it could be reconsidered if civil-rights violations occurred during the immigration-status checks.
But Bolton later enjoined two more sections of the law because of the suit filed by the civil-rights coalition, which includes the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Early last month, the 9th Circuit upheld one of them, an injunction making it illegal for day laborers to impede traffic while soliciting work. The 9th Circuit panel agreed that the statute infringed on the constitutionally guaranteed right to commercial speech of the day laborers or their would-be employers.
The clause outlawing transporting and harboring illegal immigrants will be argued Tuesday.

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