A federal judge today blocked several parts of Arizona’s new immigration law, putting them on hold as the overall law was scheduled to take effect Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that the portions of the law that most angered its opponents — including the checking of immigration status during stops for unrelated offenses — would not be allowed to be enforced. The Associated Press reported that the sections would be put on hold until the courts resolve the issues. White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters on Air Force one that the Department of Justice would be reacting to the ruling.
Judge Bolton was appointed by President Bill Clinton. She was assigned the seven lawsuits filed against the Arizona measure, which has ignited protests, boycotts and even a scolding from officials in Mexico.
Bolton rules, “There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new [law]. … 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 has acted as a flashpoint in the long-standing debate over immigration, and sparked new discussions about efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration plan in Congress. (The chance of passing comprehensive immigration reform in an election year is highly unlikely.)
You can download the ruling as a PDF by clicking here or click through it below.
Gov. Jan Brewer this afternoon said she would appeal the ruling and called it “a little bump in the road.” Brewer (R) suggested that it’s just a temporary glitch and that both sides knew the other would appeal no matter what. Watch her full comments to reporters here.
She said the federal government must “step up … and do the job that they have the responsibility to do for the people of America and the people of Arizona.”
From the AP:
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.
The ruling came just as police were making last-minute preparations to begin enforcement of the law at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and protesters were planning a large demonstrations to speak out against the measure. At least one group planned to block access to federal offices, daring officers to ask them their immigration status.
Late Update: Homeland Security’s deputy press secretary Matt Chandler issued a statement on the ruling:
The court’s decision to enjoin most of SB1070 correctly affirms the federal government’s responsibilities in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. Over the past eighteen months, this Administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border, and we will continue to work to take decisive action to disrupt criminal organizations and the networks they exploit. DHS will enforce federal immigration laws in Arizona and around the country in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor, as well as continue to secure our border.
ICE works everyday with local law enforcement across the country to assist them in making their communities safer and we will continue do so in Arizona. At the same time, we will continue to increase resources in Arizona by complementing the National Guard deployment set to begin on Aug. 1 with the deployment of hundreds of additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement personnel that will aid in our continuing efforts to conduct outbound inspections, patrol challenging terrain, and interdict illicit smugglers. We are focused on smart effective immigration and border enforcement while we work with Congress toward the type of bipartisan comprehensive reform that will provide true security and establish accountability and responsibility in our immigration system at the national level.