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The "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" (introduced as Arizona Senate Bill 1070 and often referred to as Arizona SB 1070) is a legislative act in Arizona that is the broadest and strictest immigration measure in decades which, among other provisions:

  • Requires police officers to make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person whenever there is a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is unlawfully present and verify that status with the federal government;
  • Gives police officers authority to conduct warrantless arrests of persons for whom the officer has probable cause to believe have committed any public offense that makes those persons deportable;
  • Creates a private right of action for any person to sue a city, town, or county for failing to enforce federal immigration laws to the fullest extent possible;
  • Requires employers to keep E-Verify records of employees’ eligibility;
  • Establishes a separate state offense, with attendant criminal penalties, for any person to violate provisions of the federal immigration law regarding registration and carrying registration documents—making it a state crime for a person to be an undocumented immigrant under federal law;
  • Makes it a criminal offense to attempt to hire or pick up day laborers to work at a different location if the driver is impeding the normal flow of traffic, for a worker to get into a car if it is impeding traffic, or for an undocumented immigrant to solicit work (by a gesture or nod) in any public place;
  • Mandates the impoundment of any vehicle used to transport, move, conceal, harbor, or shield an undocumented immigrant; and
  • States that the remaining portions of the bill are severable and will remain in effect even if certain portions are held to be invalid.

SB 1070 is NOT just a mirror image of federal law and does allow racial profiling.

Examples on how SB 1070 differs from Federal Law:

  • SB 1070 make it a state crime for an undocumented immigrant to apply for a job, or to solicit work publicly and also makes it a misdemeanor for a citizen driving a vehicle to stop to hire anyone if that "impedes" traffic.
    • (Section 5A, makes it illegal for a driver to stop and attempt to hire or to hire and pick up passengers, if that action impedes traffic; for a person to get into someone’s vehicle in order to be hired; or for an undocumented person to apply for work or solicit work publicly in the state. Most of this is aimed at day laborers and those who hire them.)
  • Under SB 1070, citizens will be able to sue officials or agencies whose policies interfere with vigorous enforcement of federal immigration law.
    • (Section 2H allows any citizen to sue an official or agency in the state who "adopts or implements a policy that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.")

Regarding whether the law permits or encourages "racial profiling:"

  • The amended law allows police to consider "race, color or national origin" when deciding whether to ask somebody for proof of citizenship, to the extent deemed constitutional by the courts.
    • (Section 2B of the new law requires law enforcement officers to try to check the immigration status of anyone they lawfully stop if they have "reasonable suspicion" the person might be an unauthorized immigrant.)
  • It remains to be seen how police will interpret the law’s anti-profiling language in practice. Arizona state officials say they have yet to work out what factors police should be trained to use to establish "reasonable suspicion" of undocumented status.
  • SB 1070 doesn’t detail what "reasonable suspicion" might include and the phrase "except to the extent permitted" by the federal or state constitutions leaves even more ambiguity, because courts have upheld the use of race or ethnicity in some circumstances.
    • Federal officials are open to criticisms similar to some of those being made about Arizona’s law. A federal manual for training state and local officials says they may consider whether a person has a "thick foreign accent" or looks "out of place" when deciding whether to ask them about their immigration status.
  • University of Arizona law professor, Gabriel Chin, writes that there are "many open questions" regarding whether race could be used in enforcing S.B. 1070. But he also said, "I am deeply surprised that anyone construes this law to prohibit racial profiling."
  • Ediberto Roman, a professor of law at Florida International University, goes even farther. "It’s pretext to try to suggest that there is no discriminatory purpose," he told us. "Given that there is a lack of any other basis in terms of how they’re going to enforce it, it’s pretty clear that we’re looking to focus on a particular target group." Roman is concerned that police will be more likely to both stop and to question those who they think look like immigrants. "The legislature was pretty careful in following criminal procedure notions, but it’s the discretion in how the law enforcement will use criminal procedure [that] is how the racial profiling comes into play," he said.
  • Though the law only allows officials to ask for proof of citizenship in the case of "legal stop, detention or arrest," this doesn’t limit the questioning to suspected criminals — it can include those who are detained as victims of or witnesses to a crime, or people accused of violating local ordinances like noise laws or loitering laws.
  • Some of the same criticism that is aimed at state law enforcement on the subject of profiling also can be leveled at the feds. Under section 287(g) of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, state and local officials can be authorized to enforce federal immigration law after receiving four weeks of training. But listed in the training manual for that program, according to the New York Times, are several factors that authorities can use to begin questioning an individual’s immigration status that include: "Does the subject have a thick foreign accent or appear not to speak English?" and "Does the subject’s appearance look like it is ‘out of place’?" According to the Times, federal officials said they were revising the manual and that several other factors must be considered.
  • SB 1070 prohibits state or local officials from prosecuting undocumented immigration “to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.” As Chin and three other Arizona law professors wrote in a recent report: "Since federal law permits race to be a ‘relevant factor’ in determining reasonable suspicion for stops and inquiries, the combined effect of these provisions may be to require state actors to use race to the full extent permitted by federal law."
  • According to the Supreme Court case United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, "Mexican appearance" can be a factor justifying an immigration stop. But 24 years later the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in United States v. Montero-Camargo, ruled that “Hispanic appearance is not, in general, an appropriate factor” for determining suspicion, especially in areas with large Hispanic populations.
    • Kevin Johnson, an immigration law expert and dean of the University of California at Davis School of Law, said "This makes it more complex whether race can be a factor in an immigration stop in the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction, which includes Arizona.”


Arizona Senate Bill 1070 (House Engrossed Version):

Download full text PDF

Educational Materials:

Popular Education Version of SB 1070/La 1070 Versión Popular - Spanish PDF

ACLU of Arizona Section By Section Analysis of SB 1070 “Immigration; Law Enforcement; Safe Neighborhoods”

Summary of major provisions: This bill unconstitutionally allows the state of Arizona to regulate immigration by establishing a separate state offense for any person to violate provisions of the federal immigration law regarding registration and carrying registration documents. It gives local police officers authority to investigate, detain and arrest people for perceived immigration violations without the benefit of proper training, exacerbating the problem of racial profiling and raising concerns about the prolonged detention of citizens and legal residents.

Download ACLU of Arizona Analysis of SB 1070 PDF

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