U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton temporarily blocked the section requiring police to "make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested." She also blocked a section making it "a crime for the failure to apply for or carry alien registration papers" and making it "a crime for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply for or perform work."
Bolton said those provisions pre-empt U.S. law, and "the United States is likely to suffer irreparable harm if the court does not preliminarily enjoin enforcement of these sections ... "
The judge said the U.S. Justice Department did not challenge some provisions of the state law and she was leaving them in place. Among others, those provisions prohibit "Arizona officials, agencies and political subdivisions from limiting enforcement of federal immigration laws; ... and allowing legal residents to sue any state official, agency or political subdivision for adopting a policy of restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law."
In other words, Arizonans can still sue if state officials hold back on immigration enforcement.
Bolton also left in place a provision making it "a crime for stopping a motor vehicle to pick up day laborers and for day laborers to get in a motor vehicle if it impedes the normal movement of traffic."
However, Bolton said, it was unlikely the United States would succeed in challenges to other provisions, and she left those in place, including a section making it "a separate crime for a person in violation of a criminal offense to transport or harbor an unlawfully present alien or encourage or induce an unlawfully present alien to come to or live in Arizona."
Bolton acknowledged the state law was enacted against "a backdrop of rampant illegal immigration, escalating drug and human trafficking crimes and serious public safety concerns ... "
"The United States argues principally that the power to regulate immigration is vested exclusively in the federal government, and that the provisions of (the state law) are therefore pre-empted by federal law," she said.
Unless there is some settlement, the case must still be hashed out at trial, but Bolton's preliminary findings would carry great weight. State and federal officials were reading Bolton's injunction Wednesday to determine its impact.
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