What Does the Ruling Against SB 1070 Really Mean?

Latinos celebrated a victory on Wednesday as U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton placed an injunction against many of the most crucial sections of the new SB 1070 legislation. We asked Nina Perales, a lawyer for MALDEF who helped to win the crucial injunction against SB 1070, to explain what’s next, and what the ruling really means.

“The provisions that the court blocked yesterday were the major pieces of Arizona SB 1070, and they really worked together to create state immigration crimes,” Perales said. "[The laws] force police officers to maximize questioning of people on immigration, and then into mandatory enforcement of the new state immigration crimes.”

But this ruling does not mean the Latino community can sit back and relax now. "This is a really important first step, but it is only the first stage," warns Perales. "It is tremendously important that the court has blocked these really terrible provisions from going into effect so we maintain the status quo until the court has a full opportunity to consider all of these claims." But this is the first phase in a much longer lawsuit. Another possibility is that the state of Arizona will take the case up to Court of Appeals in an attempt to get the laws into effect while they are still being considered by Judge Bolton.

One of the best results of Judge Bolton’s ruling may be the message it sends to the 20+ other states considering copy-cat legislation. “We do hope that other legislators that were thinking of putting in clone bills to SB 1070 really take a hard look at Judge Bolton’s decision,” says Perales. “They are blatantly unconstitutional and we would hope that legislators realize that they can’t do this in other states.”