[UPDATE 6:53pm ET] Attorneys on both sides of the lawsuit are already back behind their desks, sorting out the next steps in the legal challenge. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, speaking just after the ruling was announced, called it a “small bump in the road” and was undeterred by the partial injunction. Brewer announced immediate plans to appeal the injunction.
The National Immigration Forum praised the ruling as a “temporary victory,” and took the opportunity to plug comprehensive immigration reform. The D.C.-based immigration reform coalition Reform Immigration for America held a call today to discuss to injunction and representatives from the group called the ruling a “decisive victory” against Arizona, and the beginning of a shifting “tide turning against the Arizona law.”
Meanwhile, the mood was decidedly less celebratory in Arizona, where the modified SB 1070 is set to go into effect tonight at 12:01am. “The partial and temporary blocking of a law that should’ve never existed is welcome but in no way a victory,” said Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “The conditions that created SB 1070 remain and are only worsened by the decision today.”
The last word in reactions will go to Carlos Garcia, a leader with the immigrant rights organizing group Puente: “In Maricopa County, we’ve been living under 1070 conditions with Sheriff Arpaio for years. Many are celebrating today because some sections are being blocked. While they can breathe a sigh of relief for the minimal injunction, our breath catches with the added boots on our communities’ necks.”
The disconnect in messaging between Beltway groups and organizations on the ground stems from differences of opinion in strategy. Large immigrant rights groups remain invested in comprehensive immigration reform while other groups like NDLON and Puente have instead put their resources toward stopping SB 1070 and its cousins 287(g) and Secure Communities, the federal enforcement programs that link local law enforcement and ICE.
Both NDLON and Puente continue to press people not to comply with SB 1070 when it goes into effect tonight.
[UPDATE 5:03pm ET] The Department of Homeland Security responded to Judge Bolton’s injunction ruling with this statement:
The court’s decision to enjoin most of SB1070 correctly affirms the federal government’s responsibilities in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. Over the past eighteen months, this Administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border, and we will continue to work to take decisive action to disrupt criminal organizations and the networks they exploit. DHS will enforce federal immigration laws in Arizona and around the country in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor, as well as continue to secure our border.
“ICE works every day with local law enforcement across the country to assist them in making their communities safer and we will continue do so in Arizona. At the same time, we will continue to increase resources in Arizona by complementing the National Guard deployment set to begin on Aug. 1 with the deployment of hundreds of additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement personnel that will aid in our continuing efforts to conduct outbound inspections, patrol challenging terrain, and interdict illicit smugglers. We are focused on smart effective immigration and border enforcement while we work with Congress toward the type of bipartisan comprehensive reform that will provide true security and establish accountability and responsibility in our immigration system at the national level.”
The White House has declined to comment on the ruling today.
[UPDATE 3:27pm ET] Immigrant rights advocates are predictably relieved at Judge Bolton’s injunction ruling today, which blocked the most controversial portions of SB 1070 from going into effect while attorneys battle over their constitutionality in the courts.
“Those enjoined provisions constituted their principle objectives,” said Isabel Garcia, co-chair of the immigrant rights group Derechos Humanos. “It’s a mixed bag, however. But the judge decided that Arizona cannot just decide we are going to be a “papers please” state for every person of color.”
“The pressure and anxiety shouldered by Arizona families, businesses, churches and law enforcement agencies has been lifted for the time-being,” said Tucson-based Border Action Network’s executive director Jennifer Allen in a statement. “While there are still provisions of the law that we are concerned with and will monitor, we are elated that Judge Bolton blocked the most discriminatory, far-reaching provisions.” The Border Action Network is one of the organizational plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit challenging SB 1070.
The group’s original schedule of actions to protest SB 1070 will continue tomorrow as planned. Except tomorrow, people will also be “celebrating the court’s recognition of the law’s profoundly negative impact on the public interest,” said Allen.
Garcia added that the bigger political landscape beyond SB 1070 is grim; even if the law is struck down eventually, she says there is much work ahead. “We’ve got a move by even our own president to militarize the border some more,” Garcia said, referring the Obama’s plan to send 1,200 National Guard to the border. They’re set to be deployed later this week. Garcia said that today’s ruling provided an opportunity to keep fight back against anti-immigrant legislation.
But everyone will be going back to court soon for what promises to be a long legal battle. Chris Newman, legal director for NDLON, summed up the prevailing sentiments after today’s ruling: “We have the wind on our backs in a very, very long road to restoring civil rights protections to the state of Arizona.”
[UPDATE 2:41pm ET] Judge Bolton’s 36-page ruling will take a minute to sift through, and there is already some confusion about which parts of SB 1070 have been enjoined.
Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and one of the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit challenging SB 1070, said that overall, “the most pernicious parts” of the law were enjoined. “There is reason for optimism that we will restore civil rights to immigrants and people of color in the state of Arizona,” he said.
SB 1070 made it a crime for day laborers to seek work in Arizona, but only part of that portion of SB 1070 was blocked. While Bolton enjoined a portion of SB 1070 that makes it illegal for those who are undocumented to seek and be paid for work, there was much more language regarding day laborers. Newman explained what’s left over this way: “It is now a criminal offense for day laborers if they are obstructing traffic.” He added, “A necessary element of this new crime is that they be obstructing traffic while soliciting work. We want to put Joe Arpaio on notice that merely because people are looking at day laborers doesn’t mean that they are obstructing traffic.”
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued a ruling today, just hours before SB 1070 is set to go into effect tomorrow, blocking the most stringent portions of the new Arizona law. As passed, SB 1070 makes it a state crime to be undocumented in Arizona and empowers police officers to stop and question anyone they have reasonable suspicion may be in the state without papers. The law also requires law enforcement to question the legal status of anyone they stop while they’re enforcing state and local law, or even civil code.
Judge Bolton granted a partial injunction, which stops a law from being implemented while the courts hash out the constitutionality of the law. Her ruling blocks the requirement that people carry their papers with them at all times; it was an offense punishable with jail time and fines. Bolton also blocked the provision that makes it illegal for those who are undocumented to solicit work. Most importantly, Bolton blocked the portions of SB 1070 that require officers to check a person’s status while enforcing other laws and allow for the warrantless arrests of those believed to have committed “deportable offenses”.
Read the ruling for yourself here (PDF). We’ll have more reactions later today.