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Judge Kicks Arizona Immigration Law Down The Road

At first blush, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued the best of all decisions Wednesday in the Arizona immigration lawsuit by putting on hold some contentious issues knowing full well she will not be the final word in this case.

Killed by preliminary injunction were these provisions of SB1070: 1) Local police checking immigration status of a person detained or arrested; 2) Immigrants carrying “alien registration papers” at all times, and 3) Blocking officers from making warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants.

Allowed to become effective at 12:01 a.m. Thursday is the provision banning undocumented workers seeking employment and other mostly procedural issues. .

Gov. Jan Brewer said an appeal is likely after consulting with state attorneys.

State attorneys offered a powerful argument during hearings on the injunction last week. That was: to assist federal immigration agents and lessen border woes such as the heavy costs for educating, jailing and providing health care for illegal immigrants.

Once the rhetoric, the politics, the suspected racial profiling is stripped from SB 1070 and those constitutional questions within that framework are settled, the intent of the law remains. And, that is:

The enforcement priorities of our immigration laws between the states and federal government will never be on the same page. The only way the states will be happy is 100% enforcement of the law and 100% closure of the border by the federal government. Both are impossible goals. The alternative is to be pragmatic as possible and that is what the Arizona state attorneys were arguing.

Judge Bolton Tuesday simply kicked that can down the road. She did manage to scratch one itchy issue:

“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.”

Brewer’s initial statement also goes to the intent of the law:

‘(W)e’ve known all along that it is the responsibility of the feds and they haven’t done their job so we were going to help them do that.”

The question is whether it’s constitutional. One person’s concept of “help” is another person’s definition of “hindrance”, “obfuscation” and ‘confusion.”

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