Las Vegas Immigrants Breathe Easier as Arizona Law is Blocked

Latinos and the rest of the immigrant community in Las Vegas have been monitoring the situation in Arizona for several weeks since the passage of SB 1070, a law aimed at fighting illegal immigration in the absence of federal immigration reform. The law, passed in April, was immediately criticized by some and celebrated by others, and it has attracted no fewer than seven challenges in court. Today, Las Vegas immigrants were happy to hear that the first of those court battles has concluded in favor of the law’s opponents.

Arizona Republicans passed the bill and it became law in April when Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) signed it. In Arizona and around the country, there is widespread support for the anti-immigrant law. Arguably, these recent polls are a better measure of the country’s frustration with federal inaction than of real support for the Arizona law, which has a number of controversial provisions.

SB 1070 makes it a misdemeanor to be present in Arizona without immigration authorization. It also commands police officers to use “reasonable suspicion” of a person’s status as an illegal immigrant to question the person about his/her papers. Critics say that this will lead to racial profiling and will prevent immigrants from cooperating with the police.

A judge with the U.S. District Court said that the law is invalid because it creates a “substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens” and that only the federal government has the power to create such a situation. Some challenges to the law have been based on federal vs. state power, while others focus on the racial profiling and civil rights aspects of the law.

As expected, supporters of the law are determined to appeal the decision. It will likely reach the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals soon and will eventually continue to the Supreme Court.

To find out more about the Arizona law and other experiments in immigration reform, keep visiting our Las Vegas immigration Web site. If you want to talk to an experienced Nevada immigration attorney, call us for a free consultation today.

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