Jul 29, 2010 3:55 PM by Melissa Canone
PHOENIX (AP) - Opponents of Arizona's immigration crackdown went
ahead with protests Thursday despite a judge's ruling that delayed
enforcement of most the law, and dozens of people in Phoenix were
arrested after peacefully confronting officers in riot gear.
Gov. Jan Brewer called U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton's
Wednesday's decision halting the law "a bump in the road," and
her spokesman said they'd appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in San Francisco later Thursday.
Outside the state Capitol, hundreds of protesters began marching
at dawn, gathering in front of the federal courthouse where Bolton
issued her ruling on Wednesday. They marched on to the office of
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has made a crackdown on
illegal immigration one of his signature issues.
At least eight protesters approached a police line and allowed
themselves to be arrested. A group of about two dozen protesters
then sat down in the middle of the street or refused to leave, and
police arrested them as well.
Earlier, three people were detained at the courthouse after
apparently entering a closed-off area. Former state Sen. Alfredo
Gutierrez, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2002, was among
Marchers chanted "Sheriff Joe, we are here, we will not live in
fear," and among the crowd was a drummer wearing a papier-mache
Sheriff Joe head and dressed in prison garb.
Arpaio vowed to go ahead with a crime sweep targeting illegal
immigrants. It was Phoenix police who made most the early arrests,
but other protests were planned later in front of a county jail.
"My deputies will arrest them and put them in pink underwear,"
Arpaio said, referring to one of his odd methods of punishment for
prisoners. "Count on it."
Arizona is the nation's epicenter of illegal immigration, with
more than 400,000 undocumented residents. The state's border with
Mexico is awash with smugglers and drugs that funnel narcotics and
immigrants throughout the U.S., and supporters of the new law say
the influx of illegal migrants drains vast sums of money from
hospitals, education and other services.
The ruling was anxiously awaited in the U.S. and beyond. About
100 protesters in Mexico City who had gathered at the U.S. Embassy
broke into applause when they learned of the ruling via a laptop
computer. Mariana Rivera, a 36-year-old from Zacatecas, Mexico, who
is living in Phoenix on a work permit, said she heard about the
ruling on a Spanish-language news program.
"I was waiting to hear because we're all very worried about
everything that's happening," said Rivera, who phoned friends and
family with the news. "Even those with papers, we don't go out at
night at certain times there's so much fear (of police). You can't
just sit back and relax."
In New York City, about 300 immigrant advocates gathered
Thursday near the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan.
New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, a first-generation
Caribbean-American, told the crowd: "We won a slight battle in
Arizona, we've got to continue with the war."
In Los Angeles, about 200 protesters invaded a busy intersection
west of downtown Los Angeles.
Police shut down the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and
Highland Avenue and diverted traffic away after demonstrators moved
into the street and sat down at about 10 a.m. Thursday.
The protesters chanted, "These are our streets" during the
raucous demonstration. Police say there have been no arrests.
Bolton indicated the government has a good chance at succeeding
in its argument that federal immigration law trumps state law. But
the key sponsor of Arizona's law, Republican Rep. Russell Pearce,
said the judge was wrong and predicted the state would ultimately
win the case.
In her temporary injunction, Bolton delayed the most contentious
provisions of the law, including a section that required officers
to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws.
She also barred enforcement of parts requiring immigrants to carry
their papers and banned illegal immigrants from soliciting
employment in public places - a move aimed at day laborers that
congregate in large numbers in parking lots across Arizona. The
judge also blocked officers from making warrantless arrests of
suspected illegal immigrants.
"Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to
determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested
burdens lawfully present aliens because their liberty will be
restricted while their status is checked," said Bolton, a Clinton
administration appointee who was assigned the seven lawsuits filed
against Arizona over the law.
Other provisions that were less contentious were allowed to take
effect Thursday, including a section that bars cities in Arizona
from disregarding federal immigration laws.
Kris Kobach, the University of Missouri-Kansas City law
professor who helped write the law and train Arizona police
officers in immigration law, conceded the ruling weakens the force
of Arizona's efforts to crack down on illegal immigrants. He said
it will likely be a year before a federal appeals court decides the
"It's a temporary setback," Kobach said. "The bottom line is
that every lawyer in Judge Bolton's court knows this is just the
first pitch in a very long baseball game."
Opponents of the law said the ruling sends a strong message to
other states hoping to replicate the law. Lawmakers or candidates
in as many as 18 states say they want to push similar measures when
their legislative sessions start up again in 2011.
"Surely it's going to make states pause and consider how
they're drafting legislation and how it fits in a constitutional
framework," Dennis Burke, the U.S. attorney for Arizona, told The
Associated Press. "The proponents of this went into court saying
there was no question that this was constitutional, and now you
have a federal judge who's said, 'Hold on, there's major issues
with this bill."'
But a lawmaker in Utah said the state will likely take up a
similar laws anyway.
"The ruling ... should not be a reason for Utah to not move
forward," said Utah state Rep. Carl Wimmer, a Republican from
Herriman City, who said he plans to co-sponsor a bill similar to
Arizona's next year and wasn't surprised it was blocked. "For too
long the states have cowered in the corner because of one ruling by
one federal judge."