This week, the most contentious provision of Arizona's controversial immigration law took effect, prompting rallies throughout the country. Several dozen civil rights activists gathered at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Phoenix on Wednesday, a day after the law took effect.
Opponents of the new law say that it will encourage racial profiling and cause people to be uncooperative with immigration enforcement, whether they are illegal immigrants or not. An organizer of an immigrants rights groups said many people will now live in fear because of the law.
The "show me your papers" provision is the most talked-about and opposed provision of the law. It requires state law enforcement to question people who they suspect may be in the country illegally. On Tuesday of this week, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Arizona police could immediate begin enforcing the law.
The decision came following a ruling this summer by the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that the "show me your papers" provision was valid, while striking down other provisions of the law. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may consider the request to block the law on appeal.
Opponents of the provision argued before the District Court judge that the law encourages racial profiling and therefore is unjust. However, the judge held that claims of racial profiling are merely speculation at this point, though she left open the possibility of blocking the provision in the future if these claims can be proven.
South Carolina is one of five other states that enacted controversial immigration laws similar to that of Arizona. In December, a U.S. District Court judge blocked that provision of the law from taking effect in South Carolina. The decision was appealed.
In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may either lift the block or send the case back to the District Court judge for reconsideration in light of the Supreme Court's ruling.
Source: The Daily Courier, "State: Groups protest enforcement of immigration law," Sept. 20, 2012