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Ninth Circuit Hears Arizona SB 1070 Arguments

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on November 02, 2010 12:47 PM

Arizona's controversial and highly publicized immigration law, SB 1070, now has some explaining to do. The polarizing law, which critics say would legalize racial profiling, was argued at the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco on Monday. The three-judge panel heard arguments for and against the constitutionality of the Arizona immigration law, and whether federal authority prevents the state from taking action, reports The New York Times.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's legal team is appealing the decision that suspended many parts of the law one day before it was supposed to take effect earlier this year. The SB 1070 arguments begin just one day before Brewer seeks election for her first full term as Arizona Governor. The primary focus of the current SB 1070 arguments looks at whether a state can take it upon itself to enforce immigration laws.

One of the more controversial aspects of SB 1070 is the power the law gives to local law enforcement officials to hold suspects until their immigration status could be determined. Much of the questioning during arguments centered on whether the law creates a slippery slope for enforcement by Arizona police officers. Arizona argued that illegal immigrants were overwhelming Arizona's "health care systems, schools, and prisons." In the end, solutions to the problem must still work within the legal framework.

Reuters reports that public opinion may favor the Arizona immigration law: "Polls show a majority of Americans favor the Arizona statute, but opinions are sharply divided on the law and what to do about some 11 million illegal immigrants in the country." Brewer has said she is willing to take SB1070 to the Supreme Court, if necessary, The Times reports.

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