Showdowns tend to draw big crowds, and Thursday’s back-to-back hearings on SB 1070, Arizona’s new immigration law, did not disappoint.
The federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix drew a full contingent of reporters, photographers, lawyers, plaintiffs, protesters, and the just-plain-curious as Judge Susan Bolton presided over two courtroom dramas that will determine the future of this controversial law.
In the first hearing, the ACLU and other civil rights groups – including MALDEF, NILC, APALC and NDLON –asked for an injunction to stop the operative provisions of SB 1070 from taking effect on July 29, as scheduled.
MALDEF attorney Nina Perales started off by refuting the government’s assertion that the plaintiffs did not have a right to sue by describing the particular harm that the new law would have on the diverse coalition of 14 organizations and 10 individuals in the case. For example, she pointed to several of the plaintiffs who are survivors of turmoil in their home countries, religious persecution, or domestic violence, who would be subject to detention and arrest under Arizona’s law, but not by federal authorities.