July 15th, 2010
05:18 PM ET
13 years ago

Judge hears arguments over Arizona immigration law

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/15/art.borderarizona.gi.jpg caption="A Border Patrol agent patrols the border in Nogales, Arizona."]
Phoenix, Arizona (CNN) - An attorney for a Phoenix police officer challenging the state's new immigration law argued in court Thursday that his client could be fired or disciplined if he doesn't enforce the law.

Stephen Montoya countered the state's position that Officer David Salgado can't prove he will be harmed because the law has not yet taken effect.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton heard the motions from Salgado and attorneys representing Gov. Jan Brewer, who wants Salgado's case dismissed. Bolton took the case, the first challenge to have a hearing, under advisement.

Thursday's arguments in a standing-room-only courtroom set the table for the much-anticipated July 22 hearing at which the Obama administration will argue the law is unconstitutional.

Protesters on both side of the issues assembled peacefully outside the federal courthouse.

Attorney John Bouma, representing Brewer, argued that Salgado has no standing in the case and that the governor is protected by immunity. Montoya said the governor is only being sued in her official capacity - not as a private individual.

The officer has argued that he could violate civil rights in carrying out the law and could be accused of profiling. Montoya also says Salgado could be sued by private individuals if he doesn't enforce the provisions. Montoya said the Arizona law puts local and state officers in a difficult position because they have to violate federal law to enforce the state law.

Brewer argues that the state is just trying to enforce current immigration laws.

This is the first of seven legal challenges to Arizona's controversial immigration law. The Justice Department has also filed a suit to stop it.

Salgado contends that the new law violates the Constitution along with some state and federal laws.

The law, signed by Brewer in April, requires police to question people about their status if they have been detained for another reason and if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transport them.

Critics have said the law will promote racial profiling. Supporters of the bill say its aim is only to enforce federal law.

Salgado is asking the judge to block the law before it goes into effect in July 29.

- CNN's Thelma Gutierrez contributed to this article.

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. James C


    State issued ID does not prove anything with regards to Federal immigration status only state. I was a lawful immigrant to this country from 1988-2004. State ID is only a valid prove of state residency. One can lawfully reside in a state on lets say a student visa. So let's say I have a foreign accent and I am visiting Arizona (no clue why I would but lets suppose) well I would have a state issued ID from California would that be enough. Maybe they would need my Certificate of naturalization, my wedding certificate, or maybe even my passport all things I am told to keep safe at home. Under this law I could be detained until I could prove all of that.

    July 15, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Sgt. USMC

    [2] if they have reason to believe you are here illegally.

    how can you tell if someone is here illegally? can you spot one in a crowd? how can you tell if when someone has a driver's license and has a registered vehicle?

    umm by the color of their skin?

    there's laws against that. although most of you here, including myself will never be taken into the station, processed and have a background check to make sure you are not here illegally... it would be big of you to consider people's human rights.

    July 15, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. Not real reform

    Another "sky is falling" democrat.

    Democrats rule by emotion instead of facts. The law mimics the federal law. It is also much more lenient than the immigration laws in Mexico and across Europe (yep, I was asked for my working papers).

    The law doesn't ask cops to profile.

    July 15, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  4. Westside

    It's way over due I say if the parent's are illegally here then the kids should be illegal weather or not there born here that would stop them in there track's

    July 15, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. R.Schultz

    Is it just me...or shouldn't a police officer that doesn't enforce the law get fired? Not just this law, any law. I think he store owner should be able to sue a police officer who doesn't enforce laws against theft if they take damages from it. And the city/state should be able to fire that person for not enforcing the law.

    I don't get what is so special about this, other than immigration is a politically charged issue.

    July 15, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. Old Artillery Man

    If a law enforcement officer cannot for whatever reason enforce the laws legally made by the elected officers of the state, he must resign and put his efforts to something he can do without objection. He does not get to decide what laws he will enforce and what he will not enforce. That is the reason we are in the mess with illegal immigration we are suffering from.

    July 15, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  7. Joey

    I hope that Arizona wins this case. I do not know why people can not understand the word "illegal". Secure the borders and deport the illegals!

    July 15, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  8. argued in court Thursday that his client could be fired

    could be fired and SHOULD BE FIRED

    July 15, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  9. Dennis

    If it's this easy to cross the border, who besides latins americans are coming across? That is what concerns me. The first step is to seal the border.

    July 15, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  10. Albo58

    If the police officer can not uphold the laws of his state, then resign. It's that simple...

    July 15, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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