Arizona police officers will no longer be required to demand papers of people suspected of being in the country illegally, the state announced Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
This comes as part of a legal settlement with the National Immigration Law Center and other immigrants’ rights groups. The state will also pay $1.4 million in attorneys’ fees to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs challenged the law, known as S.B. 1070, in a lawsuit filed six years ago just after it was passed in 2010. Immigrant-rights groups thought the law would lead to racial profiling.
In an opinion written by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, officers are instructed to contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they believe a person is in the country illegally, rather than “prolong a stop, detention or arrest solely for the purpose of verifying immigration status.”
“Officers shall not contact, stop, detain or arrest an individual based on race, color or national origin, except when it is part of a suspect description,” he continued.
While no longer required to ask for papers, officers may still do so at their own discretion.
Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, sees this as a major step for immigration rights.
“For the very first time since May 2010, there will be clarity to every law-enforcement officer in the state that the only way to follow S.B. 1070 is to make sure no one is detained on their immigration status alone,” Tumlin said.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.