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The new immigration law that critics say encourages racial profiling and criminalizes immigration has had several parts blocked by a United States judge, just at the last minute before it was scheduled to come into effect yesterday.
The law is known as SB 1070 or the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighbourhoods Act and is internationally known as the “Arizona Immigration Law”.
As originally written, the law gives the power to law enforcement officers to stop anyone on sight and ask for proof of immigration status without adequate cause, meaning if a person “looks” foreign-born, they could be targeted.
However, the United States judge blocked the following provisions:
– Police officers are allowed to look into the immigration status of someone who is arrested or detained without a warrant on just suspicion of the person being illegal.
– Immigrants must carry their proof of status with them at all times and it would be illegal for them to look for jobs in public places if they had no status.
The second provision is aimed at day labourers and tradespeople, who are known to congregate outside of stores like Home Depot looking for people who may need help with their construction projects as a way to make money – sometimes, the only way in which they can make money.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed the Act into law in late April, said yesterday that she would be filing an appeal to reinstate the law as it was written. She said, “The fight is far from over, at the end of what is certain to be a long legal struggle, Arizona will prevail in its right to protect our citizens.”
Yesterday, KTLA news’ television broadcast showed dozens of protesters disrupting a major downtown Los Angeles intersection by laying down chained together in the street to block traffic. The protest was peaceful, but by mid-afternoon police cut the chains and made the protesters disperse. Many more protests had been planned, including blocking access to federal offices, but the ruling came just as police were getting prepared to begin enforcing the new law.
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