Federal Judge Stops Full Enforcement of Arizona Immigration Law

SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law, took effect on Thursday, but without its teeth after a federal judge temporarily blocked the most contentious parts of the legislation, setting up what could be a long-drawn legal battle between the state and federal governments.

District Court Judge Susan Bolton imposed an injunction on several provisions of SB 1070, including the one which authorizes officers to verify the immigration status of a person while imposing other and unconnected laws. Bolton’s ruling also prevented the imposition of sections that require immigrants to carry their documents all the time. Bolton said these provisions should be suspended pending final resolution by the court. Also blocked by Bolton was a provision that allows officers to make warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants for violations that may be punishable by deportation.

Bolton’s decision prevented what could have been a clash between police and protesters who waited outside the court. The protesters had vowed to defy the law, with some people saying they would not bring their identification documents. Bolton, without blatantly siding with the federal government, said that the federal government has the prerogative over the state government in enforcing immigration laws.