NEWS BRIEF Arizona’s attorney general put new limits on a law that made the state a leader in tough-on-immigration legislation, which was criticized by immigrant-rights advocates.
Senate Bill 1070, which passed in 2010, has been tangled in a lawsuit brought by several immigrant-advocacy groups who say it created an environment of fear among the state’s large Latino population by allowing racial profiling. To Arizona’s conservatives, SB 1070 allowed local law enforcement to make the kinds of immigration checks that in their view the federal government seemed unwilling to do. The law served as a precursor to others like it introduced in dozens of states around the country. The most controversial section of the law, and the one Attorney General Mark Brnovich limited, was called the “show-me-your-papers” portion.
That section allowed Arizona officers to question a person’s immigration status during any interaction. If the person could not produce ID proving legal presence in the U.S., he or she could be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and deported. What Brnovich has done is to clarify this section to officers with a nonbinding opinion filed Thursday in Arizona’s Supreme Court. The opinion says officers should not make an arrest “based on race, color, or national origin” in an effort to check the person’s immigration status.