News

Jul 28, 2010 1:24 PM by Letitia Walker

Judge Blocks Arizona's Immigration Law

 PHOENIX (AP) - A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the most

controversial parts of Arizona's immigration law from taking

effect, delivering a last-minute victory to opponents of the

crackdown.

      The overall law will still take effect Thursday, but without the

provisions that angered opponents - including sections that

required officers to check a person's immigration status while

enforcing other laws.

      The judge also put on hold parts of the law that required

immigrants to carry their papers at all times, and made it illegal

for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places.

      U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that the controversial

sections should be put on hold until the courts resolve the issues.

      The ruling came just as police were making last-minute

preparations to begin enforcement of the law at 12:01 a.m. Thursday

and protesters were planning a large demonstrations to speak out

against the measure. At least one group planned to block access to

federal offices, daring officers to ask them their immigration

status.

      The volume of the protests will be likely be turned down a few

notches because of the ruling by Bolton, a Clinton appointee who

suddenly became a crucial figure in the immigration debate when she

was assigned the seven lawsuits filed against the Arizona law.

      Lawyers for the state contend the law was a constitutionally

sound attempt by Arizona - the busiest illegal gateway into the

country - to assist federal immigration agents and lessen border

woes such as the heavy costs for educating, jailing and providing

health care for illegal immigrants.

      The opponents argued the law will lead to racial profiling,

conflict with federal immigration law and distract local police

from fighting more serious crimes. The U.S. Justice Department,

civil rights groups and a Phoenix police officer had asked the

judge for an injunction to prevent the law from being enforced.

      "There is a substantial likelihood that officers will

wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new (law),"

Bolton ruled. "By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a

'distinct, unusual and extraordinary' burden on legal resident

aliens that only the federal government has the authority to

impose."

      The law was signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in April and

immediately revived the national debate on immigration, making it a

hot-button issue in the midterm elections.

      The law has inspired rallies in Arizona and elsewhere by

advocates on both sides of the immigration debate. Some opponents

have advocated a tourism boycott of Arizona.

      It also led an unknown number of illegal immigrants to leave

Arizona for other American states or their home countries.

      Federal authorities who are trying to overturn the law have

argued that letting the Arizona law stand would create a patchwork

of immigration laws nationwide that would needlessly complicate the

foreign relations of the United States. Federal lawyers said the

law is disrupting U.S. relations with Mexico and other countries

and would burden the agency that responds to immigration-status

inquiries.

      Brewer's lawyers said Arizona shouldn't have to suffer from

America's broken immigration system when it has 15,000 police

officers who can arrest illegal immigrants.

»Comments

»Topics in this article

Top Videos

1 2 3 4

Most Popular