PHOENIX —The "papers please'' provision of Arizona's SB 1070 is now in effect.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton signed the formal order this afternoon dissolving the injunction she issued more than two years ago blocking the state from enforcing key provisions of the 2010 law.
Since that time, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that she was legally incorrect in enjoining the section which requires police to question those they have stopped if there is reason to believe they are in this country illegally. The justices said there was no evidence that the Arizona law, on its face, conflicted with federal law.
Bolton's order, though, makes permanent the injunction she issued at the same time in 2010 barring enforcement of three other sections of the law. The high court agreed with her conclusions that those provisions were preempted by federal law.
The judge's order today comes as civil rights groups are asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a new injunction.
They argue that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling dealt only with the issues of federal preemption. Their lawsuit is based on arguments that the law will necessarily result in racial profiling.
Bolton herself refused to issue a new injunction two weeks ago. And so far the 9th Circuit has yet to act on the request.
Attorney Linton Joaquin of the National Immigration Law Center said his organization and its allies believe there will be real harms to some people now that the law can be enforced.
"It's going to cause racial profiling,'' he said. "It's going to cause people to be stopped because of their appearance.''
Joaquin acknowledged that existing Arizona law already permits individual officers to question those they have stopped about their immigration status. But he said it is the mandate in this law that police must inquire which will make all the difference.
"What police can already do is that when they have someone lawfully in their custody, they can ask some questions,'' he said. Similarly, they can choose not to raise the issue and let people go on their way after dealing with the reason for the original stop.
Removing that discretion, Joaquin said, will create new problems as officers seek to verify legal presence in this country.
"It's not an instantaneous determination whether somebody has immigration status,'' he said. "It is, in practice, going to lead to people being detained solely for the purpose of an immigration check.''
Joaquin said one thing that Bolton's order will do is provide live examples of how the law is being enforced -- and, from his perspective, in an illegal way.
"We will definitely be encouraging people to call about cases of abuses,'' he said.
Those examples could prove crucial: In refusing to grant a new injunction, Bolton said she was bound by the conclusion of the Supreme Court that it was inappropriate to block the law even before it took effect.