by JACQUES BILLEAUD and AMANDA LEE
MYERS, Associated Press Writers
28 July 2010
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. In addition, the
judge blocked officers from making warrantless arrests of
suspected illegal immigrants.
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," U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton
She ruled that
the controversial sections should be put on hold until the
courts resolve the issues. Other provisions of the law, many of
them procedural and slight revisions to existing Arizona
immigration statute, will go into effect at 12:01 a.m.
The ruling came
just as police were making last-minute preparations to begin
enforcement of the law and protesters were planning large
demonstrations to speak out against the measure. At least one
group planned to block access to federal offices, daring
officers to ask them about their immigration status.
The volume of
the protests will 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 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.
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
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.