A judge heard arguments Tuesday in a hearing to try to block the "show me your papers" provision of SB 1070, the only part of Arizona's tough immigration law that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The request came from opponents of Arizona's immigration law that would thwart the U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the statute's most contentious section.
A coalition of civil rights groups and others have asked U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton to bar police from enforcing the law's requirement that police, while enforcing other laws, question people's immigration status if officers suspect they are in the country illegally.
They argue that Latinos in Arizona would face systematic racial profiling and unreasonably long detentions if that section is enforced.
"It is inappropriate to legislate in the United States based on someone's national origin or based on their race. If you can show that was a motivating consideration it's the equivalent of legislative poison and the law must be stopped," said National Immigration Law Center attorney Karen Tumlin.
The coalition includes the American Civil Liberties Union; MALDEF; National Immigration Law Center; the National Day Laborer Organizing Network; Asian Pacific American Legal Center; Asian American Justice Center, both members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice; and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Lawyers for Gov. Jan Brewer asked the requirement should be allowed to take effect.
They said opponents haven't shown that enforcement of the questioning requirement will lead to racial profiling or prolonged detentions of Latinos.
"If Hispanics happen to be the people who are the highest percentage who come across the border illegally, believe it or not, they're probably the highest percentage that will be prosecuted under the statute," said lead attorney for the state John Bouma.
Outside the courthouse, protesters lined the sidewalk voicing their concern for the law and asking the court to reconsider the wording behind it.
Inside, defendants said that the law isn't discriminatory because all it focuses on is the group of people breaking the law. They said if that group happens to be Hispanic, then that's who law enforcement officers must focus in on but the ACLU said the complete opposite. The law is totally based on race and nothing else and because of that it has to stop.
Judge Bolton, who heard the arguments Tuesday, is the same federal judge who ruled on SB 1070 before it made its way to the Supreme Court. She gave no timeline as to when she will rule on Tuesday's arguments.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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