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Utah Immigration Law Blocked by Federal Judge

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 16, 2011 6:47 AM

Earlier this month, the ACLU and National Immigration Law Center filed suit in federal court, arguing that a new Utah immigration law was unconstitutional, inviting racial profiling and violating the Supremacy Clause.

Late last week, federal Judge Clark Waddoups stepped in, granting the plaintiffs a temporary restraining order, effectively preventing the controversial law from being enforced until the court says otherwise.

Amongst other things, the Utah immigration law made it mandatory for law enforcement to verify citizenship of those arrested for felonies and serious misdemeanors. It also granted officers the discretion to make such inquiries in less serious cases, such as during traffic stops.

The judge determined that the plaintiffs' complaint had presented sufficient evidence to show that these provisions would violate their rights should the law go into effect.

It's important to keep in mind that temporary restraining orders are particularly short in duration, though they often become more permanent.

Ordinarily, and in this case, a judge will grant a temporary restraining order based on a complaint alone in order to keep in place the status quo until he has more time to consider evidence presented by both parties.

Only then will he determine whether to grant a preliminary injunction stopping a law's enforcement until a trial verdict or settlement has been reached.

Judge Waddoups has set that hearing for July 14, reports Reuters, at which point both parties will have likely filed multiple briefs regarding the legality of the Utah immigration law. The law's future will be determined on that day.

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