PHOENIX — States that had been watching Arizona's immigration law in hopes of copying it received a rude awakening when a judge put most of the measure on hold and agreed with the Obama administration's core argument that immigration enforcement is the role of the federal government.
The ruling marked a repudiation of the Arizona law as U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton indicated that the government has a good chance at succeeding in its argument that federal immigration law trumps state law. It was an important first-round victory for the government in a fight that may not be settled until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in.
But opponents of the law said the ruling sends a strong message to other states hoping to replicate the law. "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.'"
He added: "So this idea that this is going to be a blueprint for other states is seriously in doubt. The blueprint is constitutionally flawed."
Gov. Jan Brewer called Wednesday's decision "a bump in the road" and vowed to appeal.
Her spokesman Paul Senseman said the state would ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Thurdsay to lift Bolton's preliminary injunction and to expedite its consideration of the state's appeal.
The key sponsor of Arizona's law, Republican Rep. Russell Pearce, said the judge was wrong and predicted that 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. CONTINUE READING...