Just hours before it was to take effect, a federal judge has issued a partial injunction of Arizona's immigration law on Wednesday.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton sets up a lengthy legal battle as Arizona fights to enact the nation's toughest-in-the-nation law. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer said the state will likely appeal the ruling and seek to get the judge's order overturned.
Though the rest of the law is still set to go into effect Thursday, the partial injunction on SB 1070 means Arizona, for the time being, will not be able to require police officers to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest, according to Fox News.
The judge also delayed 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 — a move aimed at day laborers. In addition, the judge blocked officers from making warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants.
"Requiring 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," Bolton, a Clinton appointee, said in her decision.
She said 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. Thursday.
The law was signed by 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 similar law elsewhere, prompted a boycott against the state and led an unknown number of illegal immigrants to leave the state.
Lawyers for the state contend the law was a constitutionally sound attempt by Arizona to assist federal immigration agents and lessen border woes such as the heavy costs for educating, jailing and providing health care for illegal immigrants. Arizona is the busiest gateway into the country for illegal immigrants, and the border is awash in drugs and smugglers that the state badly wants to stop.
Source: Associated Press, Fox News