A federal judge's ruling has temporarily blocked the implementation of portions of Arizona's immigration enforcement law, known as Senate Bill 1070.
Judge Susan Bolton issued a ruling on the case last week that the U.S. State Department filed. Her ruling enjoins certain sections of the law while allowing others to go forward.
The decision sets the stage for additional court battles.
In her ruling, Bolton said sections of the law that would require police to determine the immigration status of anyone stopped or arrested and suspected of being an illegal immigrant could not be implemented.
"Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked," Bolton wrote.
The judge wrote that because many people arrested on minor charges don't get booked into jail, a requirement for officers to verify immigration status would cause needless delays.
In addition, Bolton cited statistics showing that Tucson police had used cite-and-release arrest procedures more than 36,000 times in fiscal year 2009.
The judge also blocked the implementation of a portion of the law that would make it a crime for non-residents to not carry alien registration documentation.
Bolton wrote that for the state to impose its own penalties separate from those enforced nationally would disrupt the federal government's uniform registration standards for legal aliens.
Another section of the law the ruling placed on hold would have made it a crime for an illegal alien to solicit, apply for or perform employment duties in the state.
Bolton reasoned that the section of the law likely would not survive the Justice Department's claim that federal law preempts, or supersedes, the state's law.
The final piece of the law that Bolton's ruling enjoins would have allowed for the warrantless arrests of people suspected of being in the country illegally if probable cause existed implicating them in offenses that carry the penalty of removal from the country.
Bolton wrote that the law would require individual officers to determine whether a suspect's offense merits removal from the country, a task the judge noted would normally be for immigration judges to determine.
"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," Bolton wrote.
Numerous provisions of the law were not blocked and therefore are now enforceable under Arizona Revised Statutes. An aspect of the law allowed to go into effect includes allowing residents to sue state agencies or municipalities that adopt policies that don't enforce the law to the fullest extent.
It also would be a crime in Arizona for motorists to stop their cars to pick up suspected illegal day laborers, and for those seeking work to do so in a way that impedes traffic flows.
The ruling also allows for provisions of the law that make it a criminal offense to transport or harbor illegal aliens or to encourage people to come to Arizona illegally.
Appeals court denies Brewer
In the days following Judge Susan Bolton's ruling, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer requested that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals expedite the state's arguments against the injunctions.
Brewer asked the court to put the case on its agenda for September.
"America is not going to sit back and allow the ongoing federal failures to continue," Brewer said in a news release announcing her request. "Arizona would not be faced with this problem if the federal government honored its responsibilities."
The court denied the governor's request, scheduling the item for the first week of November.
What others have said
Elected leaders across the state have been voicing opinions about Judge Susan Bolton's ruling that blocks portions of Arizona's immigration enforcement law. Here's a sampling of what some officials said:
Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain, R-Ariz. (joint statement):
"We are deeply disappointed in the court's ruling today and disagree with the court's opinion that the Arizona's law will unduly 'burden' the enforcement of federal immigration law. Instead of wasting tax payer resources filing a lawsuit against Arizona and complaining that the law would be burdensome, the Obama Administration should have focused its efforts on working with Congress to provide the necessary resources to support the state in its efforts to act where the federal government has failed to take responsibility."
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-CD 8:
"State lawyers arguing with federal lawyers will not help us secure our border, fix our broken immigration system or improve safety for the ranchers of Cochise County, the seniors of Green Valley or the families of Tucson. Judge Bolton's ruling is an affirmation of the fact that the enforcement of our nation's immigration laws is the responsibility of federal government. It is time — in fact, it is way past time — for the federal government to start taking that responsibility seriously. Congress must act to protect and defend the American people."
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-CD 7:
"This is an important moment for the nation to pause and take a deep breath. We need to concentrate on the economy, the lack of jobs and teachers, and the
other crucial issues facing Arizona and the rest of the country. As part of this pause, I am encouraging national groups to return their conventions and conferences to the state to help us change the political and economic climate… Gov. Brewer and the state legislature have proved indifferent to the consequences of this law for the state economy."
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Republican:
"I will battle all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary, for the right to protect the citizens of Arizona. Meanwhile, I also know we still have work to do in confronting the fear-mongers, those dealing in hate and lies and economic boycotts that seek to do Arizona harm."