U.S. District Judge blocks controversial parts of new Arizona immigration law

July 29th, 2010 - 1:59 am ICT by BNO News  

PHOENIX, ARIZONA (BNO NEWS) — A judge on Wednesday blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona’s new immigration law due to come into force on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked sections that allow police to determine the immigration status under certain circumstances and also blocked a portion that makes it a crime in the state for a legal resident alien to travel without immigration papers.

“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,” said Bolton.

“Considering the substantial complexity in determining whether a particular public offense makes an alien removable from the United States and the fact that this determination is ultimately made by federal judges, there is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens,” the ruling said.

According to Bolton, “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.”

“Even though Arizona’s interests may be consistent with those of the federal government, it is not in the public interest for Arizona to enforce preempted laws,” Bolton’s ruling added. “The Court therefore finds that preserving the status quo through a preliminary injunction is less harmful than allowing state laws that are likely preempted by federal law to be enforced.”

In response to Wednesday’s ruling, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said “the court ruled correctly when it prevented key provisions of SB1070 from taking effect.”

The DOJ said “a patchwork of state and local policies would seriously disrupt federal immigration enforcement and would ultimately be counterproductive. States can and do play a role in cooperating with the federal government in its enforcement of the immigration laws, but they must do so within our constitutional framework.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary Matt Chandler said the court’s decision “affirms the federal government’s responsibilities in enforcing” the immigration laws.

Chandler said the DHS will enforce federal immigration laws in Arizona and around the country “in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor, as well as continue to secure our border.”

The DHS will continue to increase resources in Arizona by complementing the National Guard deployment set to begin on Aug. 1, Chandler added.

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