Frontera Fund News

Is SB 1070 Dead? Here’s the Lowdown.

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Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

The short answer is no, but things have dramatically changed thanks to years of tireless work by organizations and activists.

Every provision of SB 1070 has been blocked previously by the courts, with the exception of the infamous sections 2(B) and 2(D).

Last week, immigrant rights groups and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich settled a lawsuit against the controversial law. As a result, the state issued new guidelines for enforcing the “show me your papers” provisions.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Any member of law enforcement in Arizona can detain a person only for violating state or local law, not just to ask, “Show me your papers.” For example, if a driver runs a red light, the police may ask for the legal status of the driver, because he or she broke the law. But the officer cannot ask about the status of the driver’s passengers, as an early interpretation of sections 2(B) and 2(D) allowed. 

2. Law enforcement cannot hold people in order to investigate immigration status if it will extend the stop beyond the time necessary to address the state law violation. Once a person is cleared, warned or ticketed for a violation, law enforcement must release the person immediately. 

3. Since the law still exists “on the books,” knowing your rights is the best defense against abuse of authority.

4. Have the number of an immigrant rights organization handy in case you or someone you know experiences a violation of legal rights. Puente Human Rights Movement can be contacted at 602-252-1283 or on their website. You also can report instances of abuse by leaving a message with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona at 602-650-1854.

Lydia Guzman, a longtime activist fighting SB 1070 and Arpaio’s abuse of power, says she is glad this settlement agreement includes guidelines for what an officer can and cannot do when enforcing SB 1070.

“This gives us the ability to sue police departments independently if they cross those lines,” Guzman said.  “I hope that all cops in Arizona take careful notice of what this has done to [the] Maricopa County Sheriff so that they’re not the next lawsuit.”