July 15th, 2010
05:18 PM ET
12 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. Dano

    The law itself is not unreasonable. The problem will come later if statistics show that a much higher percentage of darker-skinned people are questioned or detained than their lighter-skinned neighbors. I was born in New Jersey 49 years ago and have dark hair and fairly dark skin, and I wonder if an over zealous police officer might pull me over if he/she just gets a glance at my darker traits. I don't know about you but I'm not in the habit of carrying around my birth certificate.

    July 15, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Whimsy1

    So if this law is only to enforce federal law, and federal law is currently in place, why does AZ need their own law? Many police officers are against this law as they are not immigration officers or border patrol agents. They have enough on their plate. Also all this new training is costing a small fortune at a time when state funds have been slashed for police, fire and schools. I think job creation would be a better use of these funds. Arizona needs to enforce the law requiring employers to not hire illegals and to verify their status. Without employment, illegals would not be prone to come here.
    Arizona legislators need to look to their federal senators and representatives to create real immigration reform. Where have Kyl and McCain been for the past decade on this issue? It only seems to come up when there is political capital to be made.

    July 15, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. Steph

    Brace yourselves folks. The police officer (who was born in the USA) has the last name Salgado! Of course, that gives all the "don't you dare call us racists" an excuse to make blatant racists statements like they did in the last post about this lawsuit.

    FYI – you can't deport him...he was born here! He's as American as apple pie! And please refrain from lumping all Mexicans together to make some random stereotypical attack.

    July 15, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Duh

    Arizona has to enforce the law because the feds have been sitting around on their butts for 30 years not enforcing the law. While the country is being over run with illegals. You can't go in to a store in this part of the country and find someone who can speak english. If you want to come to this country,fine, do it the legal way, pay taxes and LEARN ENGLISH.A few years ago it was stated that the illegals having children over here costs the taxpayers 60 billion a year, this is ridiculous and helping break the social security system. Keep up the good work Arizona, hope all the other states follow suit ,since clinton and obama seem to want to promote breaking federal laws

    July 15, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. MONUMENTAL TRUTH!

    He ought to be fired and sent to Mexico. He is just another free loading Mexican who contributes nothing to America.

    July 15, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. Marcus

    Before anyone says anything about drivers license, let's remember that Gov. Brewer already declared that the license by itself is not a valid ID card. So what exactly should show to an Arizonian law enforcer if he/she asks you for some ID and you happen to be 'not exactly white' (since its fairly reasonable to think that 'white' people will not be bothered over immigration issues)?
    That's just one of the problems with this law.
    Salgado is just one of many policemen and women from Arizona that is having issues with the law that they will have to uphold in a few days...

    July 15, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. Shrek

    The politically correct freaks will be hollering racism as they always do.This is not profiling, racism or anything else. It is the law. To heck with what calderone thinks about anything, if he's so good, people wouldn't be coming over here to start with.

    July 15, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Dave

    No need to carry a birth certificate, as state-issued ID is the standard.
    As for your dark skin, it is a non-issue. The police are required to inquire re: your immigration status if [1] they are lawfully in contact with you regarding a crime or investigation, and [2] if they have reason to believe you are here illegally. All of the hoopla about this law is nothing more than an attempt by the left to obfuscate the facts.

    July 15, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. La Piovra

    To those who assume a Spanish surname denotes an immigrant or a "Mex": The oldest continuously existing European-founded city in the Americas is Santa Marta, Colombia, and second place is a tie: Cartagena, Colombia and St. Augustine, Florida, both founded in 1565, the latter by Juan Ponce de Leon, who was also the first governor of Puerto Rico. This is not (you hysterics) an argument for reconquista; it is a reminder that the person with the Spanish surname may come from a family whose roots are more American than yours.

    July 15, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. Kevin in Ohio

    This whole thing would be moot if the feds enforced the laws already on the books. But they choose not to. Liberals pick and choose the laws they want to respect and laws they want to ignore or disobey. Our government and our country is being hijacked by liars and criminals.

    July 15, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  11. thor

    I hope this judge knows what the word illegal means.!!!

    July 15, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. Shari from Madison WI

    I hope the petitioner wins. As Dano says, the law itself is not unreasonable but how it could be used is.

    July 15, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  13. Shari from Madison WI

    Let's hope this law is overturned. It can only lead to more trouble for the police and probable racial profiling.

    July 15, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    Fine the wealthy and the corporations that hire them. THEY WILL STOP COMING. It's AZ law that hiring illegals should be fined and/or jailed.

    Quit going about this the wrong way. Use the laws already in place.

    July 15, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  15. Gerry NH

    Lets see we have a government that won't enforce immigration laws and the circumstances forced Arizona to make there own. The federal government wont go after sanctuary cities which is clearly against federal law. Wht didn't the government go after Rhode Island they have had there own immigrationlaw for about two years? Our government is a complete failure.

    July 15, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. Tony

    The police could just set up check points like they do for drinking and driving. That way each individual has to show id, registration, and proof of insurance. No profiling then. If they say so then no more check points for d&d. Problem solved.

    July 15, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. James Denver, CO

    To people who are saying immigrants should learn english, the United States does not yet have an official language. France, Spain, etc all have an official language but we do not so saying that to be American they need to speak English that's not really accurate.
    The governments lawsuit against the law is concerned that the state is stepping into territory that should be controlled by the federal government. Yes, not much has been done about it yet but that doesn't change that fact. The last concern is that people will be falsely accused of being an illegal immigrant and as backwards as it may seem to some people they can then sue for racial profiling wasting a lot of taxpayer money on pointless court cases.

    July 15, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  18. bill

    better get used to it ....americans are SICK to death of these criminals running our streets more laws will be coming soon !!!!

    July 15, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  19. Martin

    This officer has the option to quit, if he doesn't want to enforce these laws.

    Policing is an inherently dangerous job, something he would have known when he joined the force.

    Police officers can't pick and choose which laws they want to enforce. If he feels that he can't enforce this law without endangering himself, then he should quit.

    It really isn't unreasonable for a police officer to ask for ID if you have interaction with the police. It happens in EVERY single other country on Earth. I'm in Canada – If I don't have ID and am stopped by police, I would expect to have to produce ID within 24 hours at a police station, or an arrest warrent would be issued.

    July 15, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  20. omgamike

    If you are stopped by a police officer, in Arizona or any other state or community, you are required to produce a drivers license and registration. It would be reasonable for an officer, if the officer was told that the individual did not have a drivers license, to then ask for another form of identification. Possibly a state issued I.D., or a Social Security Card, or a birth certificate. If you had no alternate identification, then the process steps up a level. At that point, if the officer reasonably suspected that the individual was not a citizen of the United States, the officer could inquire about the person's citizenship. The identical situation occurred in New Jersey. The defendants tried to assert racial profiling, and that the defendant's rights were being violated, that there was no legal reason for the officer to ask about their citizenship, or to later direct the defendants (multiple defendants in a large van) to follow the officer to an immigration office, where the defendants were detained and where it was determined that all nine or ten of the people in the van were in the United States illegally. The defendant's assertions were all thrown out, even on appeal. There was no racial profiling involved and the officer had every right to stop, question and detain the defendants (illegal aliens).

    July 15, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  21. gary

    In the military, if you believe an order violates the Code of Conduct or the Constitution, you have an ethical and moral duty to challenge the order. The same principal seems to apply here.

    July 15, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  22. Bob

    Once thing I admire form Mexicans is that they are smart.....so mexicans go ahead and bleach your hair, get blue contact lenses and the end of the story.
    Hoping for a better world, and we should start loving our neighbors.
    Crime is high in mexico thanks to the bunch of drug addicts here in this country and nobody addresses that.
    Oh no we are perfect here.

    July 15, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  23. Cynthia - Arkansas

    When did Americans become so hateful? We have a huge Hispanic population and we embrace it. The Republicans have thought of everything under the sun to start a race war. It's pathetic!

    July 15, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  24. Burbank

    Duh,
    reform the syste first. How the hell do you want this poor people to come legally when to apply for a visa in mexico cost over 120. 00 dollars.
    Labor workers in mexico make an average of $3.00 dollars a day.
    DUH

    July 15, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  25. John D

    The law will stand and the cop needs to quit whinning and do the job he was hired to do. If he won't, then fire his butt! Arizona wrote this law because the federal government once again is not doing it's job. Surprise, SURPRISE! The law will stand! Go Arizona and Jan B.!

    July 15, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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