Immigration Law

Judge Blocks Key Sections of Arizona Immigration Law


A federal judge in Phoenix has blocked the most controversial parts of the Arizona immigration law from taking effect Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction, saying the U.S. government is likely to prevail in its argument that four sections of the law are pre-empted by the federal immigration scheme.

Bolton blocked key provisions that:

• Required police officers to check the immigration status of a person legally stopped, detained or arrested, if they have a reasonable suspicion the person is in the United States illegally.

• Required immigrants to carry their papers at all times.

• Made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment.

• Authorized warrantless arrests when there is probable cause to believe a person has committed a public offense warranting deportation.

The New York Times,the Associated Press and Reuters have stories on Bolton’s decision (PDF).

Bolton wrote that the provision requiring a check of immigration status during lawful stops or arrests is likely to burden aliens who are here legally as well as the federal government, since it is likely to face an influx of requests for immigration status. A footnote in her opinion also noted “potentially serious Fourth Amendment problems with the inevitable increase in length of detention while immigration status is determined.”

“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,” Bolton wrote. “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 pre-empted laws.”

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