What an Injunction Did for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Sections of Arizona’s controversial new immigration law were put on hold. That decision took the acrimony out of planned protests.

There is no doubt about it; Arizona’s new immigration law had the vast majority of the country up in arms over some of its highly controversial language. The one that inflamed people the most was the provision that police officers would be allowed to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws. Another equally obnoxious section required immigrants to carry their identification papers all the time and made it illegal for undocumented workers to seek employment in public places was also stayed until the courts get a chance to sort through these issues.

This decision came at the 11th hour, virtually minutes away from the police starting to enforce the new law. The decision was handed down by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton. Judge Bolton is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. This case could have gone just about every which way but loose, but for now large parts of the legislation are held up while the courts take a look at them.

The interesting question is what will happen next given the evident nationwide support for Arizona’s new law because Obama is seen to be dragging his feet over comprehensive immigration reform. Arizona grabbed the bull by the horns and did something about it and except for the federal court judge, may have succeeded.

The frightening thing is that there are so many human rights issues involved in this situation that are being ignored, have the potential to be ignored, and are just plain outright being violated. The law as the state of Arizona was intending to pass it would have been much like living in a war torn country where everyone is required to have name, rank and file order papers. Mind you, that is precisely the way Arizona views itself – under siege from illegal aliens or undocumented aliens.

So what we have here is a state that overstepped its power and authority, trampling on the toes of the federal government in its headlong rush to deal with their immigration problem. As things stand now, the police there are “not” required to find out the immigration status of people arrested or detained for other crimes. At least that is the way it “should” be, but may not be the way it actually “will” be.

Evidently, there are some counties that may just skirt this issue some and fluff things up a little and still check some people out. This is really skating on thin ice given what the judge said (in part) in her ruling. “Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked.”

It’s painfully evident that something has to give, but no one is sure just what that may be, since there is an election coming. Despite that, the administration issued orders to Congress to get off their duffs and “do” something about comprehensive immigration reform. Let’s see what happens next.

Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit http://www.rifkinandfoxisicoff.com.

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