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A Look at What Does and Does Not Take Effect with the State's New Immigration Law

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton said she is convinced that
several provisions are likely illegal and should be placed on
hold until there can be a full trial. One says when police have
stopped someone, they must try to determine that person's
immigration status if there is -- quote -- reasonable suspicion -
- unquote -- the person is in this country illegally. The judge
pointed out that the United States allows some foreigners to come
to this country without a visa. So they wouldn't have
documentation to prove their right to be here. Bolton said --
quote -- the federal government has long rejected a system by
which aliens' papers are routinely demanded and checked. She also
found fault with another provision which forbids police from
releasing anyone they have arrested until they determine that
person's immigration status. Bolton said many "arrests" are
simply police citing and releasing someone at the scene. Also
gone is a section allowing Arizona to charge illegal immigrants
with breaking state law because they're not carrying required
federal documents as is one making it a crime for illegal
immigrants to try to seek work in the state. Sen. Russell Pearce
who crafted the legislation reacted angrily to the ruling.

(I'm disappointed that Judge Bolton doesn't have more respect for
the law and the damage to America. The suits should have been
thrown out on their face. This is about enforcing existing law.
This is about protecting the citizens of Arizona from those who
break our laws. They have a constitutional right to expect the
laws to be enforced to protect them from those who break our

The ruling was not a total victory for the Obama administration
and civil rights groups which challenged the law. The judge
refused to enjoin enforcement of another section which creates a
new state crime for harboring or transporting illegal immigrants,
or for inducing them to come to this country illegally. Those
provisions are now the law in Arizona. Attorney General Terry
Goddard said it's possible that the state could have preserved
more sections of the law had the governor not made the whole
legal fight over immigration political.

(The most dramatic is trying to make sure that only she got to
defend the law and that our very experienced team of
constitutional experts at the AG's office couldn't help out. And
I thought that was a singularly political move.)

That stems from a decision by lawmakers to let the governor
direct the defense of the law rather than Goddard. Brewer took
advantage of that provision, saying she was not convinced that
Goddard, who had expressed legal reservations with the first
version of SB 1070, would do a good job defending it. Goddard
insisted that the final version was legally defensible but found
himself squeezed out of the defense team. But Brewer said she
remains unconvinced that Goddard, who is running against her for
governor, would have helped.

(It's very unfortunate that Mr. Goddard wants to believe that the
federal government doesn't have to do their job. It's unfortunate
the highest elected law enforcement officer in the state of
Arizona doesn't believe in ... enforcing the laws that are
Arizona laws or federal laws. That's his job.)

Some other sections of the law also are taking effect today
because challengers did not seek to have them enjoined. One now
makes it a crime to stop a motor vehicle to pick up day laborers,
and for day laborers to get into a vehicle if it impedes the
normal flow of traffic. Also undisturbed are new prohibitions
against state and local officials and agencies from limiting the
ability of their employees to enforce federal immigration laws,
and language which allows residents to sue any official, agency
or political subdivision which restricts enforcement of federal
immigration laws -- quote to less than the full extent permitted
by federal law. Brewer said Thursday's ruling is far from the
last word.

(I look at this as a bump in the road. This is a temporary
injunction saying that the feds don't have to do their job. And
we will put our arms around it And I will meet with my legal
counsel and we will determine where we're headed from here.)

Brewer is expected to file that appeal today. For Arizona Public
Radio this is Howard Fischer.