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Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction in Arizona Litigation


On July 28, 2010, United States District Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction that prevents Arizona from enforcing portions of its now infamous legislation, S.B. 1070.  While the injunction does not prohibit enforcement of all sections of the law, the injunction does prohibit enforcement of the most controversial sections.

As Klasko previously reported, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona against the State of Arizona and Governor Janice Brewer in her official capacity.  The lawsuit claims that Arizona’s state immigration law, S.B. 1070, unconstitutionally interferes with the federal government’s ability to regulate immigration.  The law makes the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and it gives the police power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

In her opinion granting the preliminary injunction, Judge Bolton stated that the United States is likely to succeed on the merits that several sections of S.B. 1070 are preempted by federal law.  Specifically, Judge Bolton enjoined Arizona from enforcing Section 2(B) of S.B. 1070, which requires that “an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, and requiring verification of the immigration status of any person arrested prior to releasing that person.”  This section of the law has been heavily criticized that it allows Arizona law enforcement to engage in racial profiling. 

Judge Bolton also enjoined Section 3, which makes it a crime for “the failure to apply for or carry alien registration papers,” and Section 5, which makes it a crime “for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply for, or perform work.”  Finally, Judge Bolton enjoined Section 6, which authorizes “the warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe the person has committed a public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.” Judge Bolton further explained that “the United States is likely to suffer irreparable harm if the Court does not preliminarily enjoin enforcement of these Sections of S.B. 1070 and that the balance of equities tips in the United States’ favor considering the public interest.” 

Now that the Court has decided on the motion for preliminary injunction, the lawsuit will proceed to a hearing on the merits of the case, and Judge Bolton will decide whether Arizona’s law as a whole is preempted by federal law.  While the case proceeds, Arizona is stopped from enforcing the above provisions by Judge Bolton’s preliminary injunction.

  • Immigration Litigation

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