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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Arizona Limits on Day Laborers Likely to Buckle

(CN) - A 9th Circuit judge chided Arizona for going too far in its response to illegal immigration as a panel gathered to look at a ban on stopping of traffic to solicit work.

Arizona is fighting to revive the law, which is one of many provisions in the controversial Senate Bill 1070. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton enjoined the traffic solicitation ban in March 2012 after finding that the law limits the free speech of day laborers.

Robert Henry, representing Arizona and Gov. Jan Brewer, told that an appellate panel on Wednesday that the law is "triggered only when individuals engage in employment solicitation negotiations that actually cause a disruption in traffic."

"Anyone and everyone can continue to engage in these forms of solicitations everywhere on sidewalks, in the streets, on side streets, etcetera," Henry said.

The attorney said Bolton looked at only one provision of the bill in writing her opinion. The statutes "clearly on their face have nothing to do with illegal immigration and on their face address traffic safety issues," Henry said.

Judge Richard Tallman implied that the law is redundant.

"But don't you have general traffic laws that prohibit the blocking of roadways without regard to the content of whatever communication may be going on between the driver and somebody standing on the side of the road?" Tallman asked.

Henry replied that there are other statutes that apply in certain scenarios, but that "the record well demonstrates that those statutes and ordinances had obviously been insufficient to deter this very specific problem that the Arizona Legislature was seeking to resolve."

Judge Consuelo Callahan told Henry that while "Arizona is not in an un-sympathetic position," the state "is not doing really well with the Supreme Court in its effort to address illegal immigration."

The Supreme Court struck down three provisions of SB 1070 in June. One section carries misdemeanor charges for not complying with federal alien-registration requirements; the second section tries to prevent illegal immigrants from seeking work in the state; and the third section allows the warrantless arrest of anyone whom an officer had cause to believe committed a crime worthy of deportation.

Another section, nicknamed the "papers please" provision, remains unchecked because it has not yet gone into effect. This law would require police officers to determine the immigration status of a person if the officer has "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the country illegally encroaches on federal supremacy.

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