A federal judge in Phoenix on Wednesday blocked key provisions of Arizona's controversial immigration law from taking effect as scheduled Thursday, granting in part an injunction requested by the Obama administration.
U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton ruled that the injunction would apply to the portion of the state law that requires police to try to determine the immigration status of a person they arrest, stop or detain while enforcing other laws if they reasonably suspect the person is in the United States illegally.
Bolton said in her 36-page ruling that it was "not in the public interest" for Arizona to enforce provisions that preempt federal enforcement of immigration law.
Also put on hold were parts of the law requiring foreigners to apply for or carry certain documents, making it a state crime for undocumented workers "to solicit, apply for or perform work," and mandating verification of the immigration status of any arrested person prior to release, the ruling said.
Illegal Foreigners don't need to apply.
This paragraph could not be clearer – the immigration status of individuals who have been arrested for some other crime will only be checked if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that they are an illegal alien. Yet the federal judge reads the second sentence of this paragraph without reference to the first as supposedly requiring that the immigration status of all arrestees must be determined, despite Arizona’s claims to the contrary. In other words, she completely ignores the first sentence and then claims that checking the immigration status of all arrestees would be an impermissible burden on the federal government.
For any lawful stop, detention or arrest made by [an Arizona] law enforcement official…in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance…where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable effort shall be made…to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation. Any person who is arrested shall have the person’s immigration status determined before the person is released.
Here, Judge Bolton failed to give the State the respect it was due on this issue. Indeed, it is strong evidence of an activist judge straining to find a way to stop a law that she does not like from a policy (not a legal) standpoint. It is also completely contrary to federal law that specifically requires federal officials to “respond to an inquiry by a…State, or local government agency, seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status of any individual.” (8 U.S.C. §1373). How can Judge Bolton rationally conclude that Arizona is placing an impermissible burden on the federal government to respond to citizenship verification requests when federal law mandates that the feds respond to such requests? The judge’s reasoning is foolish – she is treating the Obama administration’s enforcement priorities (or lack of enforcement priorities) as if they are federal law. Arizona’s law does not conflict with federal immigration law, although it may conflict with the Obama administration’s policies. But policy conflicts do not result in federal preemption. Judge Bolton’s reasoning also conflicts with a very recent First Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Estrada v. Rhode Island, that upheld the right of state law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of individuals detained for other reasons such as a traffic stop, as well as other precedents.
Unlikely Supporter of Arizona Immigration Law
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