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Federal Judge Blocks Key Parts of Arizona's Immigration Law

5 years ago
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A federal judge in Phoenix Wednesday ordered Arizona officials to delay indefinitely much of the enforcement of the state's controversial new immigration law, declaring major portions of the measure an impermissible burden on federal resources and priorities.

Only portions of the law now will go into effect as planned midnight Thursday.

Put on hold for now, pending further judicial review, were provisions that required a check of immigration status for anyone stopped by the police under "reasonable suspicion" of unlawful status; made it a state crime to violate federal immigrant registration laws; and made it a crime for illegal immigrants to seek work in the state.

The Justice Department immediately praised the 36-page preliminary injunction ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, a Clinton nominee and longtime Arizona resident. Arizona officials promptly vowed to appeal it to the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Considering the substantial complexity in determining whether a particular public offense makes an alien removable from the United States and the fact that this determination is ultimately made by federal judges, there is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new [law]," Bolton wrote. "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."

Bolton reasoned that federal resources and priorities in the areas of immigration would be "impermissibly" burdened by the influx of people rounded up by law enforcement officials and suspected of being unlawful immigrants. It was not within the powers of any state to unilaterally burden the federal government in this manner, the judge ruled. Bolton did not fully address the constitutionality of racial profiling and other equal protection challenges to the new measure, which had been brought by private citizens and groups also challenging SB 1070, as the law is known.

Within an hour of the ruling, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who supports the new law, responded in an interview with The Associated Press: "It's a temporary bump in the road," Brewer said. "We will move forward and I'm sure that after consultation with our counsel we will appeal. The bottom line is we've known all along that it is the responsibility of the feds and they haven't done their job, so we were going to help them do that."

That point was not lost on Bolton. She wrote: "The Court by no means disregards Arizona's interests in controlling illegal immigration and addressing the concurrent problems with crime, including the trafficking of humans, drugs, guns, and money. Even though Arizona's interests may be consistent with those of the federal government, it is not in the public interest for Arizona to enforce preempted laws. The Court therefore finds that preserving the status quo through a preliminary injunction is less harmful than allowing state laws that are likely preempted by federal law to be enforced."

That point was not lost on the Justice Department, which issued the following statement: "While we understand the frustration of Arizonans with the broken immigration system, a patchwork of state and local policies would seriously disrupt federal immigration enforcement and would ultimately be counterproductive. States can and do play a role in cooperating with the federal government in its enforcement of the immigration laws, but they must do so within our constitutional framework."

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I am in total agreement with the Federal Court's delay of certain provisions of Arizona'a immigration law. Such a state like Arizona, in my opnion, has a right to regulate their border from illegal intrusions. That, I am in support of. But, if their enforcement encroaches on federal jurisdication, then the federal court as the right to act accordingly. Given the broad complexity of Arizona's law, it seem to be an overbroad application of trying to right a wrong. It is without a doubt that implementation of the law will have a chilling effect on the rights of legal citizens, as well as those in this country illegally. I am reminded of the "son of sam" law implemented by the state of new york years ago. That initial legislation was so broad that it encroached on the rights of legally artistic work, as well as the work of criminals that profited from their writings. Arizona can have a good law. However, the legislation need to bo back and narrowly draw it's procedures so that it can withstand constitutional scrutiny.

August 18 2010 at 6:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

crabbychief9:04 PM Jul 28, 2010: You said "Bigger question, why is it that you're only concerned with one border...the one to the south?"

Well to answer your question as of March Mexicans make up 56 percent of illegal immigrants. An additional 22 percent come from other Latin American countries, mainly in Central America. About 13 percent are from Asia, and Europe and Canada combine for 6 percent. So 78% of illegal immigrants come from the southern border. If 78% of illegal immigrants were coming from the northern border then I'm sure it would be the same situation.

July 29 2010 at 6:27 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Federal goverment should have done something long ago about aliens in this country ,but I think Arizona governor is trying hard to help her state with this problem.

July 29 2010 at 4:35 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply


July 29 2010 at 2:11 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

One thing we have to understand is that we will never be able to fully protect our borders. The U.S.-Mexican border is 1969 miles long and much of it is through very rugged terrain. The U.S.-Canada border is 4087 miles long not including another 1538 Alaska-Canada. We also have 2069 mile coast line with the Atlantic ocean, 1631 with the Gulf of Mexico and 2043 with the Pacific ocean, plus 6,640 of Alaskan coast with the Pacific and Arctic. Now bad guys can come in at any of those places. How many are ready to spend the money necessary to protect it all? The cost would be enormous.

July 29 2010 at 10:59 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I've read a lot of these comments. Those who favor the courts decision and those who don't like the courts decision. I would like to ask all; just a conversation to ask what should we do? We know its illegal. So don't make that statement. Yet there are 11 million undocumented illegal aliens in this country. What is the most effective way to seal the border? Would you man the border? The law was bound to get stoppped. That's over. How do Americans adress this problem. There must be a way. So I will start by making one suggestion and I'd like the pros and cons ; I say we card them - in essence instead of having our limited policing force try to cover 6000 miles of border (mexico,canada and both shorelines)we ask them to come to us. We give them a id card. Amnesty - maybe but at least we know who and where they are. So let your ideas loose. And please no mean and/or evil comments about foreigners and illegals.

July 29 2010 at 10:13 AM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to exitar01's comment

I've got several useful solutions - all relating to "self deportation"

1) semi-annual random employee audits in many key industries to ensure the legal citizenship of every employee. Severe fines incur to employers.

2) ABSOLUTELY NO federal, state, or city assistance provided to any individual or family until their citizenship is verified. If you can't make it here in the US without handouts - go back to your old country - we don't need you. We have enough (legal) deadbeats here already.

3) Sensible laws - like that of Arizona - verifying the legal residency of the individual if any interaction with city, state, and federal occurs.

4) The citizenship of each child verified prior to admission into PUBLIC school systems.

5) When the deportation occurs - FLY THEM to random cities - much farther away from the US Border. (Example - if they're from Warsaw, Poland - drop them off in the city of Sczecin (other side of the country). If they are from Mexico - give them a nice vacation in Cancun. )

I know, I know. This would "cost money." All these illegals are already costing this country MILLIONS, AND BILLIONS of dollars, and cause and eroding wage base for valuable entry-level jobs.

July 30 2010 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If someone is stopped by police for a crime related incident or even when I get stopped for a traffic violation, I must show proof of who I am. So, what's the big deal about that? Also, if I cannot provide my driver's license, I will get a citation, etc., and rightly so. If someone cannot provide the documents to prove who they are, shouldn't we be concerned about that?

July 29 2010 at 8:10 AM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
J Kapp

What!!! now i can't turn in all those people from canada who over stay there visas.

July 29 2010 at 12:56 AM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply

So happy this RACIST law did not go through! It all indicated RACIAL PROFILING from the know, hispanics (Mexican, Salvadorian, Honduran- brown skin people) are not the ONLY illegals in this country. There are people from Asia and even Europeans who are illegally here. It just happens that majority are hispanics. The day this law demonstrates this will apply to ALL ILLEGALS, (not only brown skined looking ones which you know they were only going to target) THEN and only then I will support this law 100%. For now, I see it as a RACIST law. fyi- I am an AMERICAN CITIZEN by the way and earn very good money.

July 29 2010 at 12:56 AM Report abuse -76 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mauisonia's comment

I agree with you about it applying to everyone - something got to be done to ensure that a demographic isn't a specific target.

That said, you do realize that 70-80% of the illegal immigrants come from our southern border, correct?

Does it not make considerable sense to question the dozens of "no hablas" across the southern border?? In Illinoise, there is a HUGE Polish population. Many are legal, and many are NOT. Shouldn't the same pursuit be given in that state??

It's a huge issue.

July 30 2010 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Judge Bolton's ruling was correct. Immigration is a Federal issue, not something for 50 states to have 50 different systems.

July 29 2010 at 12:53 AM Report abuse -61 rate up rate down Reply

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