Arizona Day Labor Punishment Blocked

Arizona police cannot enforce a law that would penalize day laborers if they impede traffic while soliciting for work. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction that earlier blocked enforcement of this provision of the controversial SB 1070 immigration law in Arizona.

“These provisions raise First Amendment concerns because they restrict and penalize the commercial speech of day laborers and those who would hire them,” wrote Judge Raymond Fisher for the majority Monday.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer had pushed the law as a traffic safety measure, designed to promote safe orderly traffic flow.

Fisher acknowledged Arizona has an interest in traffic safety, but the state targeted day labor solicitation rather than directly the law at anyone who creates a traffic hazard without reference to their speech.

In 2010, the measure was approved as a standalone bill and its principal sponsor state Rep. John Kavanagh said it would promote traffic safety but would also discourage the shadow economy of day labor and illegal immigration. He argued large numbers of day laborers were illegal aliens. The measure was later adopted as an amendment to SB1070.

Offering to work as a day laborer is otherwise legal in Arizona.

The state law has a number of controversial provisions and challenges have gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld other portions of the law.

The day labor provision was not part of that ruling.

Case: Valle Del Sol Inc. v. Whiting, No. 12-15688





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