It was only last month that an Arizona law which denied bail to immigrants was struck down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Now that decision is on hold pending a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, yet another Arizona immigration law has been tossed out by a U.S. District Court. This time, the 2005 immigrant smuggling law was rejected because it conflicts with federal immigration laws.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled against the law, which was the last of the Obama administration's challenge to Arizona's 2010 immigration law. Governor Jan Brewer remains a defender of the laws. One of the law's sponsors, Jonathan Paton, a former Tucson lawmaker, said the White House's challenge to the law shows that the federal government does not care about Arizona's problems. Meanwhile, the Justice Department issued a statement that they were pleased with the ruling.
Striking down the 2005 immigrant smuggling law is just the latest in a string of judicial findings coming down against the wave of Arizona's anti-immigrant laws. A number of these laws were passed during the last decade after many in Arizona sought to curb immigrants coming into the U.S. primarily from Mexico and Central America. As more of the laws fail to pass legal muster, the Arizona anti-immigration experiment appears to be falling apart.
“There may be some broad sympathy within a constituency for these laws, but that constituency isn't enough to overcome the problems those laws pose,” said Temple University Law Professor Peter Spiro.
These laws were passed in response to what state and local government saw was inadequate border security. However, in the 10 or so years since these laws were passed, the U.S. has still not seen any comprehensive immigration reform. Meanwhile, President Obama continues to promise executive action in the face of GOP warnings against such action.
One major piece of Arizona's controversial 2010 immigration enforcement law has remained in effect. Known as SB 1070, the state bill included a section requiring the police to verify a person's immigration status if they suspected they might be in the country unlawfully. The courts have upheld this portion of the law which has been responsible for detaining and deporting people for minor traffic violations.
Maricopa County Sheriff Department, headed by Joe Arpaio, has come under fire for their treatment of immigrants. They have charged more than 2,000 immigrants with conspiracy to smuggle themselves across the border, rather than being used against the smugglers themselves. Later, another federal judge banned Arpaio from using the immigrant smuggling law against the immigrants who were paying to be smuggled into the country.
A federal judge has since ruled that the Maricopa County Sheriff's office systematically engaged in racial profiling of Latinos during regular traffic stops patrols. Arpaio has continued to dispute these claims. The judge recently ordered Arpaio to undergo training against racial profiling. Arpaio's response to the latest ruling against the smuggling law is that he will wait to see what the final outcome of this case will be.