Local attorney weighs in on SB 1070 provision

Local attorney weighs in on SB 1070 provision

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YUMA, AZ (13 On Your Side) -   Arizona continues to fight for state law enforcement officials right to detain illegal immigrants through the controversial immigration law State Bill 1070.

But attorneys for immigrant rights groups have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject an attempt by the state to prosecute people for harboring or transporting illegal immigrants. 

The highly controversial immigration law SB 1070 was introduced in 2010, but certain portions of the law were voided by the Supreme Court.

Since then, state officials have not stopped fighting for those portions to be reconsidered - including one that would allow the state to prosecute people for harboring and transporting those not in the country legally. 

"Being that we are so close to the border - it definitely creates a fear for the immigrant community in general."

Bianca Santorini, immigration attorney, says this proposed provision begs the question: why would it be necessary for state officials to enforce laws that federal officials are already enforcing?

"Arizona's been unique in that they've been a little bit less patient with wanting to see some type of immigration reform. Or wanting to see the federal government take hold of enforcing immigration laws."

Santorini says, the wording on the new clause is so broad -  if passed - it could open up the door for police to detain the average person. 

"There are those situations where there's just a family member who may be undocumented who may be getting a ride to school with their aunt that morning," says Santorini, "if it's in place - that aunt may be subject to prosecution herself just for having that family member residing with them and not having the proper documentation."

In other words, you may be driving along with your friend, get pulled over for a broken tail light. The officer proceeds to ask for your documentation, as well as your friend's. If it is discovered that your friend happens to be undocumented - then you, the American citizen, could face legal ramifications. 

Right now the provision cannot be enforced until a U.S. District Court judge considers both sides of the arguments to this law.