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Judge: Arizona can enforce "show your papers" provision of SB 1070

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs the SB 1070 immigration legislation into law in April 2010.
State of Arizona.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs the SB 1070 immigration legislation into law in April 2010.

A Brief History Of SB 1070

More stories, documents & multimedia on the controversial Arizona anti-immigration law.

Photo courtesy state of Arizona.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs the SB 1070 immigration legislation into law in April 2010.

PHOENIX -- A key part of Arizona's controversial immigration law, SB 1070, will soon take effect. A coalition of civil rights groups wanted the provision blocked, but a federal judge denied their request Wednesday.

Section 2B is known as the "show me your papers" provision of the Arizona immigration law. It requires state law enforcement officers to check immigration status if they have a reasonable suspicion someone is in the country illegally.

Federal Judge Susan Bolton's Wednesday ruling cleared the way for the provision to go forward. She cited the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling that challenges could not go forward until after the law is implemented.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's office said the provision will take effect soon.

"After more than two years, it is the time that the heart of Senate Bill 1070 will be able to take effect," Brewer said Wednesday night.

Alessandra Soler of the ACLU of Arizona said her coalition will continue to challenge the provision, which they believe will lead to widespread racial profiling.

"Lawful residents, lawful U.S. citizens are going to be swept up in the enforcement of this provision," Soler said. "It has happened, and it will continue to happen and these types of unlawful detentions are going to expand statewide."

Brewer said discrimination won’t be a problem.

"As I’ve always said, SB 1070 must be enforced fairly, effectively and without compromising civil rights or the constitution," she said.

Brewer said police in Arizona have been trained, and now retrained, to avoid civil rights violations. She said she knows the world is watching, but state and local officers are up to the task.

Her critics were not convinced. Soler said that discrimination has already happened, and the ACLU will continue its effort to prove it.

"What happens is we shift to a different type of challenge," Soler said. "Where we actually bring ligation on behalf victims who have been wronged and discriminated against and have been unlawfully detained."

Steven Gonzales is a professor at the Phoenix College of Law. He said this case is not over.

"Plaintiffs counsels are going to, I think continue to attack SB 1070 from all directions, particularly since the Supreme Court has made a ruling that part of it is unconstitutional," Gonzales said. He said the June decision left the door open for further challenges to the section upheld by Bolton's decision.

Bolton's Wednesday ruling did block another portion of SB 1070 that makes it a state crime to transport or harbor an undocumented immigrant.

Bolton had previously allowed that provision to take effect in 2010, but since then, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked similar provisions in Alabama and Georgia.

Jude Joffe-Block was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2010 to 2017.