Do you ever get the feeling that Tea Party Republicans see the phrase “Ignorance Is Bliss” as a Mission Statement?


Judge Blocks most controversial parts of Arizona immigration law

Eric Zimmermann
07/28/10 01:55 PM ET

A federal judge granted an injunction Wednesday preventing Arizona from enforcing the key provisions of a controversial new immigration law.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton agreed with the Department of Justice’s argument that certain parts of the law should be put on hold until the courts study and rule on the law.

“There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new [law],” Bolton, a Clinton appointee, wrote in granting the injunction. “By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a ‘distinct, unusual and extraordinary’ burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose.”

The law still goes into effect at midnight tonight, but without the controversial portions struck down for the moment by Bolton.

The most contentious part of the law required police officers who have stopped individuals for other reasons to verify their citizenship if there’s a “reasonable suspicion” he or she is an illegal immigrant.

Bolton halted enforcement of that provision, arguing that it would violate the rights of legal immigrants and citizens who could potentially be detained.

The ruling also granted an injunction against a provision of the law that makes it a crime not to carry proof of immigration status.

The Obama administration brought the suit against the law, which polls show is popular across the country. A spokesman for the White House said the Department of Justice would be commenting on the ruling later Wednesday.

The state law has become a flashpoint in the larger immigration battle, and has helped to ensure the issue will be a hot point of discussion ahead of mid-term elections that Republicans hope will end in their takeover of the House. After Arizona's governor signed the law, it briefly appeared the Congress might take up broad immigration legislation this summer.

While the Arizona law is popular, many Democrats see opposition to it as a way for the party to continue to make inroads with Hispanic voters, who could be key to several House and Senate races this fall. Obama won Hispanic voters handily in 2008, but polls show his popularity with that group has dropped since his election.

Some Republicans quickly blasted the decision.

"The federal government has a right and a responsibility to enforce existing laws, but when they fail to meet that responsibility, we should not stand in the way of the states that take action to respond to the very real threat of border violence, drug cartels and human smuggling," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

Parts of the law that were kept include a policy against “sanctuary cities” and against a provision penalizing illegal immigrants who solicit employment in public places.

Read the full legislation, S.B. 1070, here.

The legislature later passed a follow-up law declaring that race could not be used as a factor in determining “reasonable suspicion,” and clarifying that police can only question someone during a “lawful stop, detention, or arrest,” not simply “lawful contact.”

This story ws updated at 2:22 p.m. Read More

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