Judge blocks controversial sections of Arizona's immigration law
POSTED: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 - 11:20am
UPDATED: Friday, July 30, 2010 - 3:22pm
PHOENIX (AP) - A judge has blocked the most controversial sections of Arizona's new immigration law from taking effect Thursday, handing a major legal victory to opponents of the crackdown.
The law will still take effect Thursday, but without many of 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 a part 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 put those controversial sections on hold until the courts resolve the issues.
Opponents say the law will lead to racial profiling and is trumped by federal immigration law.
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.