A federal judge has sided with the Justice Department on Arizona’s controversial immigration law, blocking key provisions of the legislation that were set to go into effect on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued a ruling granting the federal government’s request for a preliminary injunction, which will prevent police from questioning people about their immigration status.
Bolton’s ruling also blocked parts of the law which made it a crime to fail to apply for or carry registration papers and for illegal immigrants to seek or perform work, and a provision that authorized law enforcement officers to arrest a person if there was reason to believe they might be subject to deportation.
The ruling was a win for the Justice Department, which sent one of its top career officials to Arizona to represent the government in the case. Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler, a former acting Solicitor General who has represented the government in more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court, argued on behalf of the Justice Department in the Arizona courtroom last week.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said in a statement that DOJ believes the court ruled correctly in preventing provisions of the law, known as SB1070, from taking effect.
“While we understand the frustration of Arizonans with the broken immigration system, a patchwork of state and local policies would seriously disrupt federal immigration enforcement and would ultimately be counterproductive,” spokeswoman Hannah August said. “States can and do play a role in cooperating with the federal government in its enforcement of the immigration laws, but they must do so within our constitutional framework.”
Te administration will “continue to work toward smarter and more effective enforcement of our laws while pressing for a comprehensive approach that provides true security and strengthens accountability and responsibility in our immigration system at the national level,” she added.