This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah agreed Tuesday to scrap much of a hard-fought "show me your papers" immigration law that passed in 2011, coming after a federal judge last summer already "defanged" much of it.
The state and several Latino and civil-rights groups filed a settlement to end a three-year lawsuit over HB497 and asked U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups to sign it.
That law, passed amid huge protests and hot debate, required police to verify the immigration status of anyone arrested for a serious crime. It also allowed (but did not require) police to check the status of people stopped for less-serious crimes, such as traffic violations.
The settlement permanently bars the state from enforcing some sections of the law, including arresting someone just because local police have reason to believe they are undocumented immigrants.
It also keeps in place rulings issued this summer by Waddoups that said police cannot prolong a detention "merely to confirm a person's immigration status," nor can police stop people just to check their status.
The settlement makes clear the law does not require Utahns to carry identification with them at all times. Police also are prohibited from considering race, color or national original except to the extent permitted by the Constitution.
"After three long years, it's finally clear in Utah that treating people differently based on the way they look or whether they have an accent is just plain wrong," said Archie Archuleta, a plaintiff and past president of the Utah Coalition of La Raza.
"Utah joins nearly half a dozen other states in realizing that punitive racial-profiling laws have no place in their law books," said Shiu Ming Cheer, an attorney for the National Immigration Law Center.
"Utah's decision to settle this case sends a clear message to states and cities across the country that they have no business stopping or detaining people just because of suspicions about their immigration status," said Jennifer Chang Newell of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project.
Missy Larsen, spokeswoman for Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, said the office does not have a comment on the settlement now, but may after Waddoups reviews and possibly signs it.
The groups that sued the state including the ACLU, Coalition of La Raza, the National immigration Law Center, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, Centro Civico Mexicano and several individuals and other groups argued HB497 is unconstitutional because it interferes with federal authority over immigration.
"We are pleased with the outcome of this settlement, knowing that it paves the way for Utah to address broad issues impacting family and community safety without the scourge of fear and racial profiling this law created," said Karen McCreary, executive director of the ACLU of Utah.
The lawsuit was filed in May 2011. Waddoups put the law on hold hours after it took effect that year. He then waited for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on (and mostly reject) a similar Arizona law. Oral arguments on the Utah case occurred last year. Waddoups struck down part of the law with rulings in June.