Federal Judge Susan Bolton granted an injunction against key sections of SB 1070 today, hours before the controversial new law was to take effect.
The judge’s decision gave the federal government and opponents a major legal victory.
Parts of the new law will still take effect Thursday.
However, the major provisions that drew the opposition of immigrant rights groups, the ACLU and the Justice Department will not go into effect.
“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,” U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled.
“There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new (law),” Bolton ruled. “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 provisions that were enjoined include sections that required officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws.
Also blocked from going into effect is the part of the law that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times,.
The provision making it a crime for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places was also enjoined.
Injunctions against a state law going into effect must meet a high hurdle . Those seeking an injunction must show irreparable harm and a likelihood they will prevail at trial. The Plaintiffs succeed.
By Alia Beard Rau – Jul. 28, 2010 10:35 AM
The Arizona Republic
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton has issued a preliminary injunction preventing several sections of Arizona’s new immigration law from becoming law, at least until the courts have a chance to hear the full case.
Key parts of Senate Bill 1070 that will not go into effect Thursday:
• The portion of the law that requires an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there’s reasonable suspicion they’re in the country illegally.
• The portion that creates a crime of failure to apply for or carry “alien-registration papers.”
• The portion that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work. (This does not include the section on day laborers.)
• The portion that allows for a warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe they have committed a public offense that makes them removable from the United States.
The ruling says that law enforcement still must enforce federal immigration laws to the fullest extent of the law when SB 1070 goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. Individuals will still be able to sue an agency if they adopt a policy that restricts such enforcement.
Bolton did not halt the part of the law that creates misdemeanors crimes for harboring and transporting illegal immigrants.
Bolton’s ruling followed hearings on three of seven federal lawsuits challenging SB 1070. Plaintiffs include the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union, Phoenix and Tucson police officers, municipalities, illegal immigrants and non-profit groups.
She denied legal requests by Gov. Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and several other defendants seeking to have the lawsuits dismissed because, they argued, the plaintiffs did not prove that they would be harmed by the law if it went into effect.
Next, hearings will be scheduled to begin hearing the full case in the seven lawsuits. All or some of the suits could be consolidated. A full court hearing is likely to involve appeals, possibly as far as the U.S. Supreme Court, and could take several years.
Gov. Jan Brewer was giving a speech in Tucson Wednesday morning when news of the ruling broke, and was not immediately available for comment. Campaign spokesman Doug Cole said her staff was reviewing Bolton’s order and would be briefing the governor as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Rep. John Kavanagh, one of the co-sponsors of the bill, called Bolton’s ruling “very disappointing,” saying that she “went to the meat of the law.”
“The decision is very disappointing,” Kavanagh said. “Those were major parts of the law that helped us battle illegal immigration. I assume that we will immediately appeal to the 9th Circuit (Court of Appeals).”
Kavanagh said that the state remained committed to defending the law and seeing it enacted. “This is only the start of the legal battle.”
David Gonzales, U.S. Marshal in Arizona, whose agency is charged with security at the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix, said the building was closed to the public except for those who have business there.
Gonzales said there was some concern about protesters in the wake of Bolton’s ruling.
“When you have situations like this, emotions are running high on both ends,” Gonzales said. “So the potential for violence is high.”