A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling released on Monday that upholds a preliminary injunction against Arizona’s S.B. 1070 immigration-enforcement law could impact immigration bills moving through the Florida legislature, according to one immigrant rights activist.
Subhash Kateel of the Florida Immigrant Coalition tells The Florida Independent that if the Florida House bill is approved as is it will only be a matter of time before lawsuits follow.
He says the House immigration bill makes being undocumented a crime, allows law enforcement to establish a person’s immigration status during a lawful stop, and allows for law enforcement to make an unwarranted arrest of an undocumented person — three provisions enjoined by the Ninth Court’s ruling on S.B. 1070.
Does he also raise an interesting question: How much might lawsuits challenging a Florida immigration law cost the state?
In the Ninth Court’s decision Judge Richard Paez wrote, “In April 2010, in response to a serious problem of unauthorized immigration along the Arizona-Mexico border, the State of Arizona enacted its own immigration law enforcement policy that ‘make[s] attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona.’”
The judge adds that provisions of S.B. 1070 establish a variety of immigration-related state offenses and define the immigration-enforcement authority of Arizona’s state and local law enforcement officers.
According to the judge, the United States sued Arizona alleging that S.B. 1070 violated the Supremacy Clause and “filed a motion for injunctive relief seeking to enjoin implementation of S.B. 1070 in its entirety until a final decision is made about its constitutionality.”
The judge’s opinion adds that the question before the court is not, as Arizona has portrayed, whether state and local law enforcement officials can apply S.B. 1070 in a constitutional way. “This formulation misses the point: there can be no constitutional application of a statute that, on its face, conflicts with Congressional intent and therefore is preempted by the Supremacy Clause,” Paez wrote.
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network and other civil rights groups filed another lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of S.B. 1070 because “the law would subject massive numbers of people – both citizens and non-citizens – to racial profiling, improper investigations, and detention. The coalition’s lawsuit charged the extreme law invited the racial profiling of people of color, violated the First Amendment and interfered with federal law.”
In a press release issued on Monday by several organizations, Omar Jadwat, staff attorney of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said:
Today’s decision rightly rejects SB 1070′s assault on the core American values of fairness and equality. Legislators in other states should pay close attention to today’s ringing condemnation of Arizona’s racial profiling law and refrain from going down the same unconstitutional path.