July 28th, 2010
01:16 PM ET
8 years ago

Judge blocks enforcement of parts of Arizona immigration law

Phoenix, Arizona (CNN) - With scant hours to go before a controversial Arizona immigration law goes into effect, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday against the implementation of parts of the law.

There are seven lawsuits seeking to block its implementation. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton made her ruling on a lawsuit filed by the federal government.

The law, signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in April, requires police to question people about their status if they have been detained for another reason and if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transport them. It is to go into effect Thursday.

Opponents say the law will lead to racial profiling, which is illegal.

Supporters point out that the law prohibits racial profiling and people cannot be stopped and asked for proof of legal residence based solely on their looks.

In addition to the U.S. Justice Department, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Coalition of Latino Clergy, the Christian Leaders League of United Latin American Citizens and other individuals or groups have asked the judge to halt the law, commonly known as SB 1070. Bolton heard arguments in the case last week from the Justice Department and the ACLU.

The separate hearings were held in Phoenix, where Bolton sits on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

Bolton's courtroom was packed during the two July 22 hearings and protesters chanted outside throughout the afternoon.

Seven protesters were arrested on civil disobedience charges, according to the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

The legal arguments revolved around a range of issues, including racial profiling, effective enforcement and possible harm to Arizona's citizens.

Attorneys from the Obama administration presented their case at the second hearing. The administration's challenge contends Arizona's law would usurp federal supremacy on immigration.

Brewer attended the hearing.

Arizona has argued that the federal government has not done a good job of securing the border.

"A law unenforced is no law at all," said state attorney John Bouma.

The American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of civil rights groups argued earlier in the day that the controversial law amounts to racial
profiling and will have a profound effect if it goes into effect.

"It treats people of color as suspects first, rather than citizens," attorney Karen Tumlin said after the hearing.

Bouma said the law would not treat people unfairly.

"These are hypothetical arguments. Local police are enforcing immigration laws all over the country," he told Bolton.

Those in favor of the law say SB 1070 is consistent with federal law.

They say the law explicitly prohibits racial profiling and they are challenging the legal standing of many of the groups opposed.

They also contend opponents of the law have not been able to show there will be any harm from its implementation.

During the first hearing, Bolton said the law has a section allowing parts to still take effect even if other parts are struck down, according to CNN affiliate KNXV.

Tumlin, managing attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, and other lawyers and foes of SB 1070 repeated assertions that Arizona's law should be rejected.

"We are here to defend the rights of those who cannot stand up for themselves," said Terri Leon, CEO of the Friendly House, which supports the legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Bolton heard a challenge to SB 1070 by an Arizona police officer the previous week.

Read the full ruling here [pdf]

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • issues
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Voice Crying in the Wilderness

    I agree with the Judge's fair, deliberate decision. State Law cannot trump Federal Law. Those consevatives who constantly admonish sticking strictly to the Constitution stand out as total hypocrites.

    July 28, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  2. Eric

    Yes, the judge has determined the National Socialist liberals are free to encourage breaking and entering into our country, just so long as the illegals, oops, sorry, I meant "undocumented workers" continue to illegally register and illegally vote for the National Socialists.

    Classifying illegal-alien law-breaking criminals as "undocumented workers" is akin to renaming dope dealers "unlicensed pharmacists."

    July 28, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Rick

    more teeroist from obama illegals, send them back

    July 28, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. Jerry

    If you cross North Korean border illegally you get 12 yrs hard labor.
    If you cross the Iranian border illegally you are detained indefinitely.
    If you cross the Afghan border illegally, you get shot.
    If you cross the Saudi Arabian border illegally you will be jailed.
    If you cross the Chinese border illegally never be heard from again.
    If you cross the Venezuelan border illegally you will be branded a spy
    and your fate will be sealed.
    If you cross the Mexican borders illegally you will jailed for two years.
    If you cross the Cuban border illegally you will be thrown into political
    prison to rot.
    If you cross the United States border illegally you get:
    1 – A job
    2 – A driver's license
    3 – A Social Security card
    4 – Welfare
    5 – Food stamps
    6 – Credit cards
    7 – Subsidized rent or a loan to buy a house
    8 – Free education
    9 – Free health care
    10 – A lobbyist in Washington
    11 – Billions of dollars in public documents printed in your language
    12 – Millions of servicemen and women who are willing to – and do – die
    for your right to the ways and means of our constitution
    13 – And the right to carry the flag of your country – the one you walked
    out on – while you call America racist.

    July 28, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. JWN in South Caroliina

    Courageous judge.

    What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.

    July 28, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Robert

    I suspect Governor Jan Brewer is here illegally. Does she carry her proof of citizenship around? I didn't think so. Go back to Germany Fuhrer Brewer.

    July 28, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Mikey

    This law contains no fines or criminal penalties for hiring illegal aliens. However, if you provide humanitarian assistance, such a meal to a hungry child, it's a $1,000 fine.

    What kind of people wrote this law?

    July 28, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Tim - Wilmington, DE

    No shock here; most provisions of SB 1070 were blatantly unconstitutional and never stood a chance in a court of law. For the most part, justice has won and radical, bigoted, hateful, fascist, right-wing activist scaremongering has lost. Now, we sit back and watch the hysterical teabagger reactions. Grab some iced tea and pull up a chair.

    July 28, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. jaybally

    Horray for the RED, WHITE ans BLUE !!!
    This decision should stand as "Barrier" for those who like to take the LAW into their own choosing.

    July 28, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Rob

    Choke on it you right-wing racist slimeballs. Ha!

    July 28, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. old Hag

    The American Melting Pot that made this country great was NOT composed of illegal immigrants! The US is glad to have any new citizens who comply with existing immigration laws, and those citizens will enhance the quality of life for all citizens. Those persons who try to circumvent the law will not.

    July 28, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Sandra

    I hope the whole law is blocked!

    July 28, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. Marie MD

    "Brewer attended the hearing. Arizona has argued that the federal government has not done a good job of securing the border.
    "A law unenforced is no law at all," said state attorney John Bouma. "

    Fine, I agree to a certain extent, but where was this governor and her buddy mcnasty (who in 2006 was all for illegals) when the shrub was in office?
    Oh yeah, right, it was not President Obama. I keep forgetting the hate from the rethugs.

    July 28, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Jeff Spangler

    Sooner or later, states and municipalities will craft laws which withstand challenges in court and have the desired effect of chasing illegal criminal aliens out of the jurisdiction. This is exactly what happened in Prince William County, Virginia. Many "mixed" families fled, although not to the nearby sanctuary of Arlington County which is too expensive for most illegals. When enough places declare a public policy of zero tolerance for illegals, there will be nowhere to go. Why not leave now?

    July 28, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    Keep fighting, Arizona. The majority of America is with you.

    July 28, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Willy Brown

    Round one goes to the taco benders and union thugs

    July 28, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. katiec

    Good for her. Am aware there is an immigtration problem, but what AZ tried to push through is unAmerican and opened the door to abusive discrimination.

    July 28, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. JonDie

    "It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transport them. It is to go into effect Thursday."

    Of course, we all know that the police are more likely to enforce the law against individual brown-faced suspects who don't have the resources to challenge their detentions; police are very unlikely to go against mostly white employers who knowingly hire and transport illegal aliens.

    July 28, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Shawn-GA

    Does that mean the Federal Gov. is actually going to do the job themselves? Since the state law mirrored (in fact was less strict) than the Federal laws.

    Once again this administration goes against the will of the majority of this country.

    July 28, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. JP

    Arizona is only trying to do Obama's job for him. Obama is more concerned about getting the hispanic vote than protecting Americans. Some say the Arizona law prempts federal law. that is like saying since by neighbor is letting his kids starve and not fulfilling his responsibility to feed his kids I can't give them food to save their lives.

    July 28, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Reborn

    We need tougher laws to go after the employers hiring illegals.

    July 28, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. Ron in california

    This is really to bad. The pain of Arizonians will continue. I have little faith that the Federal governement will step up. We in Calfornia will suffer as well. Human trafficking, drug dealing and the like will continue to plague our country. Sad for all.

    July 28, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Greg Pottstown PA

    We now have a tyrannical government. Putting citizens in harms way to get more votes is tyranny, Plain and simple.

    If I was gov. Brewer I would tell the state and local police to continue as planed with this law. I would tell them that they are not employed by the fed and their boss is not the boss, the Governor is.

    Then I would publicly tell the feds that they better be ready to enforce all federal laws if locals can't do it. for example If a FDIC bank is robbed better leave that to the feds. If a child gets kidnapped locals can do nothing. A person is selling guns in the streets, better hope the fbi, atf is quick to respond because state and local cops are powerless when it comes to federal crime.

    July 28, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Eric

    "Judge blocks enforcement of parts of Arizona immigration law"


    Judge says, "Nothing to see here... please dispurse... these are not the droids you're looking for..."

    In light of the judge essentially telling Arizona's law enforcement officers to "not enforce" federal law, if I were them I'd also begin "not enforcing" all other federal laws.

    Dope? Not our problem, call the DEA.
    Illegal weapons? Nope, call the ATF.
    Nationally wanted fugitives? Nope, call the FBI.

    People, right now it's 1855 and our nation is beginning to show the cracks of a house divided against itself.

    July 28, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. JonDie

    "Supporters point out that the law prohibits racial profiling..."

    Some of the sam epeople think the Earth is flat and 6,000-years-old but that doesn't make it so. The law enshrines racial profiling.

    The federal government should set immigration policy. The fact that from 2001 to 2009 Republicans did NOTHING to change immigration policy doesn't mean that the same Republicans can now make immigration a states' rights issue...because immigration is NOT a state function.

    July 28, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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