A federal judge in Arizona has removed the last major obstacle to enforcement of the controversial "Show me your papers" provision of the state's harsh immigration law.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton rejected the request of a coalition of organizations that had asked her to issue a second injunction against Subsection 2(b) of law SB 1070, which requires state and local law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally.
That element of the law has remained on hold for more than two years thanks to an earlier injunction issued by Bolton in response to the Obama administration's legal challenge to SB 1070.
The plaintiffs seeking a new injunction argued that Subsection 2(b) would lead to racial profiling of Hispanic drivers.
Bolton did not set a date for the legislation to enter into force, but experts say that this could occur very soon.
This clause was called the "heart" of SB 1070 by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.
The plaintiffs focused their case on the testimony of people whose rights have been violated despite the fact that the controversial law still has not entered into force.
The coalition, comprised of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, may appeal Bolton's decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but it still has not issued a statement on that matter.
In June, the Supreme Court nullified three of the four most controversial clauses in SB 1070, but it maintained the "Show me your papers" element.
At that time, the justices warned of possible constitutional problems with Subsection 2(b), but they did not overturn it on the basis of the evidence and arguments presented by the federal government.
In her decision on Wednesday, Bolton ruled in favor of the request by the ACLU and its allies for an injunction blocking another part of SB 1070 that makes it a crime to give shelter to or transport undocumented immigrants.
The representative of the Respect/Respeto group, Lydia Guzman, suggested Bolton refused to stop "Show me your papers" because there is still no evidence about the improper enforcement of the clause and the law must go into effect before one can verify if it really produces cases of racial profiling.
"We believe that Judge Bolton let Subsection 2(b) go into effect to inform us about the effect it will have on the community," Guzman told Efe on Thursday.
"I think that our community now must be more careful and take care not to commit traffic infractions, especially those (people) who don't have their immigration status in order," the activist said.
Guzman acknowledged that the specter of this legislation has caused a great deal of fear within the immigrant community in Arizona, and she said that they will be paying close attention to document all cases where the people's rights are violated under Subsection 2(b). EFE