Judge quizzes lawyers in hearing on Arizona’s immigration law
PHOENIX — A federal judge peppered attorneys fighting over the legality of Arizona’s new immigration law with questions about their assumptions of what the law means.
One section of the law that appeared to be giving the judge heartburn spells out that anyone arrested for any reason cannot be released until their immigration status is checked with federal officials.
She pointed out that police “arrest” people all the time for minor crimes, issue them a citation and let them go about their business. Bolton said this provision of SB 1070 would appear to require police to hold people for some extra period of time — one attorney said it can take an average of 88 minutes to get a response from Immigration and Customs Enforcement — beyond what is necessary to cite and release.
Bouma said lawmakers meant to apply that only to people who actually are taken into custody and “booked” into jail.
“That’s what they should have said then,” Bolton responded. She said it could result in detaining tens of thousands of people “who otherwise could be cited and released.”
But MALDEF attorney Nina Perales said there are real dangers to some. That specifically includes residents of New Mexico.
SB 1070 lists those documents someone can produce to prove legal presence in this country. That includes an Arizona driver’s license and the licenses from any other state which require motorists to show they have a right to be in this country.
Several states, however, including New Mexico, do not have that requirement, making their licenses useless in proving, if questioned, they are legal residents of this country.