A federal court supported a district court’s original ruling on Arizona’s anti-immigration SB 1070 law, which makes it illegal for certain individuals to house or transport undocumented immigrants. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that the law is unconstitutional.
“We conclude that the statute as written is void for vagueness under the Due Process Clause because one of its key elements — being ‘in violation of a criminal offense’ — is unintelligible,” Judge Richard Paez wrote in a court document. “We also find that the provision, however it is interpreted, is preempted by federal law and thus invalid under the Supremacy Clause.”
The judges declared the preliminary injunction, which was announced a year ago by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton of the District of Arizona. She said the plaintiffs – a pastor and several civic, labor, immigrant’s rights, and business groups — had set a likelihood of winning the argument that the key provision was unconstitutionally vague and is blocked by federal law.
The ruling is seen as a triumph for supporters of immigrants who have contended for some time that SB 1070 law is extremely harsh, and it penalizes individuals mainly on the basis of their immigration status. Activists called out this particular provision because it would have made it illegal to cooperate with undocumented immigrants on a daily basis. The law also would have negatively impacted families by making it a crime for U.S. citizens or legal residents to house family members who are undocumented.
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The whole case began with Pastor Luz Santiago, the individual plaintiff who allegedly provided “transportation and shelter to members of her congregation.” Eighty percent of the congregation was consisted of undocumented immigrants. If the law had been passed, Santiago would have been arrested for driving her congregants to school, court and doctor’s appointments.