Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is re-issuing a video training officers on how to spot undocumented immigrants -- even before an imminent Supreme Court decision that may strike down the state's tough new immigration law.
Brewer has trumpeted the law, S.B. 1070, as an attempt to shore up immigration enforcement where the federal government has fallen short. One of the law's most controversial provisions requires police officers conducting arrests or traffic stops to check the immigration status of anyone they have reasonable suspicion of being in the country illegally.
The Obama administration sued to block the law's implementation, saying it usurps the federal government's authority to determine immigration law, and the police checks provision is suspended until the U.S. Supreme Court rules.
But Brewer is not waiting to find out what the justices decide. She has ordered Arizona's Peace Officer Standards and Training Board to send law enforcement agencies a training video, issued after the law first passed in 2010, that instructs officers in how to carry out the law. The video lists factors that could identify a person as an undocumented immigrant, including their language and demeanor, and details the type of documentation that should prove someone is in the country legally, according to the Associated Press.
"The governor is optimistic that the heart of SB 1070 will be upheld and implemented," Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson told the Arizona Republic. "The governor thought this was an appropriate time to revisit the issue and make sure Arizona law enforcement is as prepared as possible for partial or full implementation of the law."
The Supreme Court's ruling could reshape how immigration laws are enforced. Arizona set off a chain reaction of states passing stringent new immigration laws that empowered police officers to check immigration status and mandated harsh new penalties for employers that hire undocumented immigrants.
Several of those laws have drawn lawsuits from the federal Department of Justice, which charges that states lack the authority to adopt immigration policies that are out of sync with federal standards. If the Supreme Court affirms parts of Arizona's law, it would be a victory for states looking to chart their own paths.
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