The Arizona legislature has already made several changes to its recently enacted immigration statute, Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (Senate Bill 1070). On the legislature’s last day in session, it passed changes to the law, which the Bill’s sponsor, Senator Russell Pearce, stated were intended to clarify that “the bill prohibits racial profiling in any form.”
Opponents of the Bill had expressed concerns about how crime victims or witnesses would be treated in light of the Bill’s requirement that law enforcement question individuals concerning their immigration status during any “lawful contact.” In an attempt to address this issue, the legislature amended the statute to require questioning only where there is a “lawful stop, detention or arrest.” Moreover, the legislature eliminated the word “solely” from the provision in the Bill, stating that law enforcement officials may not “consider race, color or national origin…” in establishing reasonable suspicion that someone is in the country illegally. Finally, the Bill was also amended to clarify that law enforcement officials responding to city-ordinance violations would be required to determine the immigration status of an individual they have reasonable suspicion of being in the country illegally.
Governor Brewer signed these changes into law on April 30, stating that she believed the new language, combined with the original wording of the Bill, gives the law "maximum ability to withstand legal scrutiny." These changes will become effective with the rest of the Bill on July 29, 2010.
The changes, however, have done nothing to stop the furor over the Bill’s enactment. The calls for boycotts of Arizona and its businesses have continued to increase in the week since the Governor signed the Bill and will undoubtedly have an impact on Arizona employers.
We will continue to follow these breaking developments.