Arizona Governor Defends Immigration Bill

PHOENIX (CN) – Gov. Jan Brewer seeks dismissal of two federal lawsuits that challenged the state’s controversial immigration law. Brewer says Phoenix Police Officer David Salgado’s claims that he will violate the Constitution if he enforces the law are “hypothetical;” she seeks dismissal of a pro se complaint from a resident of Washington, D.C., on similar grounds.

     Brewer claims that Salgado and Chicanos Por La Causa, a nonprofit, sued on the “hypothetical possibility” that they may suffer injuries or constitutional violations from Arizona’s SB 1070. Salgado claimed he will be disciplined if he refuses to enforce the law, but he may “be subjected to costly civil actions alleging the deprivation of the civil rights of the individual against whom he enforces the act.”
     Brewer claims that the possibility of being disciplined by an employer is not a concrete claim capable of judicial determination.
     The governor adds that because Salgado is a police officer, he cannot be held liable for violating a person’s civil rights except under very limited circumstances.
     Brewer claims that Chicanos Por La Causa’s claims that its students “will be threatened with unlawful interrogation, detention, and arrest if they cannot quickly prove that they are lawfully in the United States” are speculative. She claims that the group’s devotion “to protecting the rights of individuals of Mexican ancestry” does not give it standing to challenge the constitutionality of a law.
     Brewer’s motion for dismissal claims that federal law does not preempt the state’s immigration law, since Arizona does not attempt to regulate the terms under which undocumented aliens may enter or remain in the country.
     The state law, slated to take effect July 29, requires police to enforce immigration laws and allows them to search vehicles without warrant if an officer has a reasonable suspicion that occupants do not have immigration papers. It makes hiring day laborers a misdemeanor if the driver or worker block the flow of traffic.
     At least five lawsuits have challenged the law since Brewer signed it in April.
     Brewer is represented by John J. Bouma with Snell & Wilmer.
     The second lawsuit Brewer seeks to dismiss was filed pro se by Roberto Javier Frisancho, a Washington, D.C. resident and U.S. citizen. Brewer called his complaints “highly speculative” and claims they “reflect a fundamental misunderstanding” of SB 1070.
     Frisancho claimed that if he visits Arizona, the law will make it “likely” that he will be asked for his immigration papers because he is Hispanic.
     But “Nothing in the act authorizes any individual to ask plaintiff for ‘his papers’ because he happens to be Hispanic,” Brewer claims. “The officer must have reasonable suspicion ‘that a person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States.'”

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