May 03, 2011 Articles

The Ninth Circuit and Arizona's Senate Bill 1070

One day before the law was set to take effect, the district court granted a preliminary injunction, blocking certain provisions of the law from going into effect.

By Mahsa Aliaskari

With a statewide E-Verify mandate in 2008, Arizona pioneered state-led immigration enforcement measures and since then we have seen a number of states adopt similar measures. Meanwhile, Arizona continues with its efforts to address immigration and the undocumented population working and residing in the state at a time when the federal government is failing to act. The most recent development in this battle occurred on April 11, 2011, when the state was unsuccessful in challenging a U.S. district court injunction blocking key provisions of the controversial Arizona law, known as Senate Bill (S.B.) 1070, in a case brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, as amended by H.B. 2162. Siding with the Obama administration, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling enforcing the injunction (United States v. Arizona, 9th Cir., No. 10-16645, 4/11/11). S.B. 1070 took effect on July 29, 2010. However, one day before the law was set to take effect, the district court granted a preliminary injunction, blocking certain provisions of the law from going into effect.

S.B. 1070 created a number of immigration-related stated offenses designed to promote Arizona’s goal of attrition through enforcement. Following the decision, four provisions of S.B. 1070 continue to be blocked under the injunction, in part due to the conflict between provisions of S.B. 1070 and federal immigration policy (United States v. Arizona, D. Ariz., No. 2:10-cv-01413, preliminary injunction 7/28/10; 144 DLR AA-1, 7/28/10). Under the doctrine of preemption, if either specific provisions or the law in whole is deemed to be preempted by federal law, it will then be deemed unconstitutional.

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