Arizona senator proposes bill to repeal controversial SB 1070

A Democratic lawmaker has introduced a bill that would repeal what remains of the infamous Senate Bill 1070, Arizona’s notorious immigration law that was signed into law a decade ago.

Almost every year since its adoption in 2010, an effort has emerged to remove it. This is the 12th attempt – although none of the past proposals have ever been heard in the Legislative Assembly.

SB 1070, which allowed law enforcement to request the papers of people suspected of being in the country illegally, was largely declared unconstitutional in 2012 but remains in effect in the state.

On Tuesday, State Senator Martin Quezada presented a proposal it would scrap the controversial bill entirely — a move he says is both symbolic and has tangible ramifications for Latino residents of Arizona.

“Obviously, the original SB 1070, which passed in 2010, was a nice anti-immigrant bill,” Quezada said. “Although many parts of it were struck down by the Supreme Court because they were unconstitutional, there was never any effort to remove them from our laws and erase the black mark they were from. our history.”

Quezada has introduced a bill to repeal the Immigration Act in the Senate every year since 2015 – this year marks his seventh attempt as a title sponsor. Naturally, the bill will meet opposition from more conservative members of the Legislative Assembly, who continue to tout the need for SB 1070 and have previously opposed such a measure.

Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070, a comprehensive set of anti-immigration measures officially titled the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, in April 2010. The bill was intended to reduce the number of illegal immigrants into the state through attrition – making life in it so difficult for undocumented people that they were forced to leave, and increasing the power of law enforcement to investigate anyone suspected of find illegally in the country.

The law was built around four provisions: it allowed police to request immigration papers from a person arrested for reasons other than immigration violations, or to arrest a person without a warrant if they thought he had committed a deportable offence. He also made a statement crime for legal immigrants not to have registration papers and for undocumented people to apply for work.

“People were afraid to call and report crimes that were happening in their community because they didn’t trust law enforcement,” Quezada said. “We’re still dealing with the remnants of that today, with that completely broken relationship.”

The bill drew national anger — as well as praise — before its gutting by the Supreme Court in 2012 and a subsequent settlement of a lawsuit brought against the state by the American Civil Liberties Union and other rights groups. defense of immigrant rights. A majority of voting Arizonans supported it when it passed, although 81% of registered Latino voters opposed the bill, according to a June 2010 study from Arizona State University. survey. Today, many Arizona Democrats credit opposition to SB 1070 as the genesis of their political activism.

“SB 1070 represented the pinnacle of a growing anti-immigrant and anti-Latino movement in Arizona,” said Quezada, who decided to run himself after seeing the bill pass in the gallery as a as legislative assistant. “Here we are a decade later, and we’ve turned the state purple. And this is largely due to the SB 1070 message sent to our communities.

The first provision of SB 1070, labeled by opponents as the “Show me your papers” measure, remains in place today. If an officer begins to suspect that a person they have detained or arrested for a possible state or local crime, such as a DUI, is illegally in the country, they are still required under this provision to ask for the person’s immigration papers and contact immigration. and customs enforcement to verify their citizenship status.

There are exceptions – a person is presumed to be lawfully present if they present a valid driver’s license, and an officer may choose not to contact ICE if they deem an investigation into a person’s status to be ” unachievable”. Local law enforcement also cannot detain a person longer than the original purpose of the stop to verify immigration status. The Phoenix Police Department, Arizona’s largest police force, declined to comment on how often it enforces this remaining SB 1070 requirement.

The only deputies not subject to the existing law are from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office – due to a court order in the current Melendres v. Arpaio trial, MCSO employees are prohibited from asking anyone about their immigration status. MCSO policy now prohibits employees from enforcing any immigration law, according to MCSO spokesman Sergeant Calbert Gillett, although Democratic Sheriff Paul Penzone still allows ICE to verify the immigration status of everyone passing through the MCSO prison system.

“The heart and soul of SB 1070 was that requirement, and it was ruled perfectly constitutional,” said Republican House Rep. John Kavanagh, who has previously spoken out against repeal efforts. “That’s why these bills to kill him come up all the time. Because they know it’s an effective bill and they want to put an end to its effectiveness. [With a repeal of SB 1070], I think the very strong deterrent effect that SB 1070 has on illegal immigrants would also be removed. We would move from a hostile state to offenders in this area to a welcoming state.

Click to enlarge

Previous proposals, by year, that would have repealed SB 1070.

Hannah Critchfield

The new proposal, intentionally titled SB 1071, is co-sponsored by Democratic lawmakers including Senators Lela Alston, Ann Gonzales, Juan Jose Mendez and Tony Navarrete, as well as House Representatives Raquel Terán, Athena Salman, Diego Rodriguez and Charlene Fernandez. .

Although large portions of SB 1070 have been rescinded, Quezada said he believes repealing SB 1070 will have a strong impact on the lives of immigrants and Latinos within the state — albeit indirectly.

“There are a lot of people who still don’t know what their rights are,” Quezada said. “You see it moving on to simple things like asking for a free, reduced lunch at a public school. Parents are still afraid to come and fill out these forms after Senate Bill 1070. And that’s the biggest impact I still see – immigrants are afraid to get involved in their children’s education, even if their children are citizens, because they still fear that Arizona is an anti- immigrants. And all of this is the result of laws like SB 1070 that were passed in the state of Arizona.

“I think the most important message is that the whole bill was part of an ugly part of our history, and it’s a part that we absolutely have to move on from,” he said. Quezada said.

SB 1071 was pre-filed in the Arizona House Senate on Jan. 7.