Controversial provisions of Arizona immigration law put on hold; governor vows to fight to the end

by Kobakila News

NEW YORK — U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton on Wednesday, July 28, has issued a temporary injunction that put key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law, known as Senate Bill 1070, on hold.  The law. excluding the sections which Judge Bolton ruled against, took effect July 29.

One key provision that was blocked was one that would authorize Arizona police to check the legal status of a person they have stopped.  Judge Bolton agreed that immigration enforcement is the federal government’s responsibility.  However, even with this setback, Arizona governor Jan Brewer remained confident that the entire law would be fully implemented.

Since Wednesday’s ruling, there have been reports that Judge Bolton has received thousands of phone calls and e-mails from both those supporting the law and those that are against it.  David Gonzales, the U.S. Marshal for Arizona was quoted by a newspaper account that some people were “from people venting and who have expressed their displeasure in a perverted way.”

U.S. Marshals do not take these threats lightly since they provide security measures to federal judges. With this ongoing controversy over S.B. 1070, although Gonzales did not disclose whether there were threats coming from recognized hate groups, tougher safety measures are expected to be in effect.

Gov. Brewer filed an expedited appeal at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to reinstate the provisions blocked by Bolton.  She hired lawyers to defend the law in court and vowed that “this fight is far from over.” The case could eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Gov. Brewer hoped “the court will act quickly, saying illegal immigration remains an ongoing crisis”.

As this developed, it led to demonstations across the country.

In Phoenix, hundreds of activists protested Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, for leading a raid on immigrants to coincide with the first day of the law.   Hundreds of protesters banged on the metal door of the Maricopa County Jail, which Arpaio had put on lockdown.  “Sheriff Joe, we are here. We will not live in fear,” they chanted.

Arpaio, a 78-year-old a 78-year-old ex-federal drug agent, helped deport more than 26,000 immigrants since 2007 without the benefit of the new law, conducted his business as usual. He launched his 17th “crime suppresion operation” aimed at undocumented residents.  He sent his latest sweep Thursday afternoon, directing about 200 sheriff’s deputies and trained volunteers out across metro Phoenix to look for traffic violators who may be here illegally.

In New York, about 300 immigrant advocates rallied near the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan. They marched across Brooklyn Bridge to demonstrate solidarity with Arizona residents. Organizers rallied to “demand policies that affirm family unity, due process and fairness.  They also hoped to pressure President Obama to immdeiately halt all Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) partnerships with local law enforcement,” wrote Albor Ruiz of the Daily News.

In a statement issued by the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Father Benjamin Alforque, its president said “We cannot stand silent as communities in Arizona are victimized by this bill.  The law has no safeguards against racial profiling and increases the likelihood of arbitrary arrest and detention.  These are all human rights violations. Arizona public officials ignored the fact that all human beings have human rights, regardless of nationality, ethnicity or immigration status.”

Fr. Alforque also said that “we must raise with even greater urgency the need for immigration reform legistlation and call on Obama and Congress to live up to their promise of change.”

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) has also expressed concern on Arizona immigration law and other anti-immigration laws being considered in Michigan, Virginia, South Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.  These states have introduced a similar strict immigration law that would make [it] easier for police to arrest illegal immigrants but have yet to see the enforcement of anti-immigration law in Arizona before they put the same law on their states.

Aside from NAFCON and NaFFAA, Filipino American groups like Philippine Forum, Migrante and Damayan have spearheaded campaigns to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform that would reunite families and would provide a path to citizenship.

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