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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Ban on Day Laborers in Arizona Crumbles in 9th

(CN) - Arizona's day-laborer ban goes too far, having little to do with traffic safety and much to do with limiting the rights of undocumented job seekers, the 9th Circuit ruled Monday.

The 35-page ruling upholds an injunction against two provisions of the state's much-maligned Senate Bill 1070 that target day laborers and those who attempt to hire them.

Colaicion De Derechos Humanos; United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; the Border Action Network and several other immigrant-rights groups sued various state officials in 2010, seeking an injunction to stop the anti-day-laborer provisions.

The provisions prohibited occupants of motor vehicles from hiring or attempting to hire "a person for work at another location from a stopped car that impedes traffic, or for a person to be hired in such a manner," according to the ruling.

Opponents claimed that the laws violate the First Amendment by restricting commercial speech. Arizona claimed that the laws merely meant to promote traffic safety.

U.S District Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction from Phoenix, and a three-judge panel based in San Francisco affirmed Monday.

"The day labor provisions are content-based restrictions designed to suppress the economic activity of undocumented immigrants," Judge Raymond Fisher wrote for the panel.

"Laws that limit commercial speech must not be more extensive than necessary to serve a substantial government interest," Fisher added.

"The District Court correctly determined that, though Arizona has a significant government interest in promoting traffic safety, the day labor provisions fail Central Hudson's requirement that restrictions on commercial speech be no more extensive than necessary to serve that interest. The district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits and that the other requirements for a preliminary injunction are satisfied."

In June 2012, the Supreme Court struck down three other provisions of SB 1070. One section carried misdemeanor charges for not complying with federal alien-registration requirements; the second section tried to prevent illegal immigrants from seeking work in the state; and the third section allowed the warrantless arrest of anyone whom an officer had cause to believe committed a crime worthy of deportation.

Yet 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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