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Federal Judge Blocks Part of AZ Immigration Law

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By Jason Beahm on July 28, 2010 3:40 PM

Opponents of the SB1070, the new Arizona immigration law, are claiming a partial victory after a federal judge issued an injuction blocking the state from allowing police to question people about their immigration status.

Under SB1070, signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in April, police were expected to "make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested" if the if the arresting officer has a "reasonable suspicion" that the person is an illegal immigrant. Reasonable suspicion means that the reasonable person or officer could reasonably believe that a person has been, is, or is about to be engaged in criminal activity (such as being in the country illegally) based on specific and articulable facts and inferences. Reasonable suspicion cannot be a mere hunch.

U.S District Judge Susan Bolton granted the injunction just hours before SB1070 would have gone into effect. The injunction also denies Arizona the right to:

  • criminalize the failure to apply for or carry alien registration papers
  • criminalize the solicitation, application or performance of work by illegal aliens
  • authorize the warrantless arrest of a person if there is reason to believe that person might be subject to deportation.

The Arizona immigration case winding up in the Supreme Court seems a forgone conclusion. The Court could hear the case in October after the end of the summer recess.

The Justice Department issued a statement saying the court "ruled correctly."

Many disagree with the Justice Department's assessment. They contend that SB 1070 merely encourages Arizona to enforce what is already federal law and specifically bans racial profiling.

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