Arizona’s new immigration law has just been dealt a mighty blow today, with a federal judge nullifying some of the most controversial sections of the new law, which was set to go into effect tomorrow.
A federal judge blocked the most controversial sections of Arizona’s new immigration law from taking effect today, handing a major legal victory to opponents of the legislation.
The law will still take effect Thursday, but without many of the provisions that angered opponents — including sections that required officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws. The judge also put on hold a part 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.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton put those sections on hold until the courts resolve the issues.
“Preserving the status quo through a preliminary injunction is less harmful than allowing state laws that are likely pre-empted by federal law to be enforced,” she said.
“There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens,” she wrote. “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 judge’s decision, which came as demonstrators on both sides of the law gathered here, and after three hearings in the last two weeks in which the judge peppered lawyers on both sides with skeptical questions, seemed unlikely to quell the debate.
“I am disappointed by Judge Susan Bolton’s ruling,” Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement. “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.
“I have consulted with my legal counsel about our next steps. We will take a close look at every single element Judge Bolton removed from the law, and we will soon file an expedited appeal at the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.”
Opponents say the law will lead to racial profiling and is trumped by federal immigration law.
Is this just the first step in the right direction? Or will the Department of Justice ultimately have to step in?
Does anyone agree with Arizona’s governor? What’s more important at the end of the day — citizenship or humanity?
Did U.S. District Judge Bolton do the right thing? After all, what about U.S. citizens who happen to be the “wrong” color? Seems like they’ll end up under attack too.