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Civil Rights Groups Ask Court to Stop Arizona Immigration Law

The ACLU and a coalition of civil rights groups have gone to court to stop Arizona from implementing the section of its controversial anti-immigration that the Supreme Court left intact in its mixed ruling last month.

While striking down three provisions in the law—which was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer in 2010 but never enforced because of a legal challenge from the Obama administration—the court said police did have the right to check the immigration status of people they stop. The ACLU, joined by groups such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, asked Judge Susan Bolton for a preliminary injunction to stay the enforcement of the provision until she has had time to consider additional claims that the section was “unconstitutional.”

The new challenge is part of an existing lawsuit filed two years ago. The rights groups argued in the new motion that the section upheld by the Supreme Court “unlawfully discriminates against Latinos and individuals of Mexican origin” and violates the Constitution.

A spokesman for Gov. Brewer called the new legal challenge “unsurprising,” and said the Supreme Court has “already spoken unanimously on the constitutionality of this provision.”

“Governor Brewer is hopeful Arizona law enforcement will soon at long last be empowered to enforce SB 1070, showing that it can be done fairly, lawfully and in harmony with civil rights and the Constitution,” the spokesman, Matthew Benson, said in a statement.

“Ultimately, that’s the only way that residents of this State will be able to put to rest the fear-mongering and outrageous allegations made by opponents of SB 1070,” he added.

Critics have claimed the Arizona law will lead to racial profiling in a state where Hispanics represent nearly a third of its 6.5 million people. Of those, an estimated 360,000 are illegal immigrants.

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