Judge blocks portions of Ariz. immigration law

A federal judge today blocked portions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law from being enforced.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton, appointed to the bench by President Clinton, granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting Arizona authorities from enforcing portions of the new law, including a provision allowing authorities to verify a person’s immigration status during the course of enforcing other laws.

“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 wrote in her ruling. “Given the large number of people who are technically ‘arrested’ but never booked into jail or perhaps even transported to a law enforcement facility, detention time for this category of arrestee will certainly be extended during an immigration status verification.”

The ruling is likely the start of an extended legal fight, which could end up in front of the Supreme Court.

“This fight is far from over. In fact, it is just the beginning, and at the end of what is certain to be a long legal struggle, Arizona will prevail in its right to protect our citizens,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from across our nation in our efforts to defend against the failures of the federal government.

“I will battle all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary, for the right to protect the citizens of Arizona,” Brewer added. “Meanwhile, I also know we still have work to do in confronting the fear-mongers, those dealing in hate and lies and economic boycotts that seek to do Arizona harm.”

The Department of Justice earlier this month filed suit over the Arizona law, which takes effect Thursday. Critics of the decision to sue contend Arizona’s law merely reinforces federal laws.

“It is because of Washington D.C.’s failure to stop the rampant illegal immigration occurring on our border, and the violent acts some of those individuals, that Arizona took this common-sense, constitutional stance to enforce the laws of this country in the first place,” U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., said in a statement. “Although I am pleased to learn that a ban on sanctuary cities will be allowed, I am disappointed in the judge’s decision to block some of the key provisions in the Arizona law that put some of the state’s attempts to have local police enforce federal immigration policy on hold.”

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