Arizona’s Immigration Law Lawsuit Ended with Deal

(ESPAÑOL) The challenge against Arizona’s immigration law ended after the coalition of civil rights groups heading the lawsuit dropped the case. The law requires police officers, while enforcing other laws, to question the immigration status of people suspected of being in the country illegally.

The dropped lawsuit marked the last of seven legal challenges against the contentious law. Although other sections of the law were struck down as unconstitutional, the questioning was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, despite racial profiling concerns raised by critics.

The law involved extensive discretion, however. The officer would have to document the reasons for their suspicion that a particular person is in the country illegally, and they would have discretion not to check immigration status if doing so would prolong detentions, hinder investigations, or due to impracticality.

Opponents of the law said the changes bring accountability to the enforcement of the statute and said the law is now a watered down version of what it once was.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich emphasized in a statement that the agreement means the questioning requirement remains in the law. “Our goal while negotiating this settlement was to find a common sense solution that protects Arizona taxpayers while helping our great state move forward,” Brnovich said.

Cecillia Wang, one of the lawyers who pressed the challenge, said the requirement that officers document the reasons for questioning people about their immigration status brings accountability to the law. “It gives us the hook to investigate cases where a cop actually does cross the line,” Wang said.

Although the questioning requirement remains in place, the courts barred enforcement of the law’s requirement that immigrants carry registration papers. It also blocked enforcement of a provision aimed at immigrants that prohibited people blocking traffic when offering or seeking day-labor services on streets.

As part of the agreement, the state also agreed to pay $1.4 million in attorney fees and other costs to the coalition.