* District court hearing may decide Arizona law's fate
* Law partially upheld by Supreme Court
* Governor is key White House foe on immigration
PHOENIX, Aug 21 (Reuters) - A federal judge in Phoenix will
begin considering on Tuesday whether Arizona's tough "show me
your papers" immigration law can go into effect, as the state
grapples with hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants.
At the same time, District Court Judge Susan Bolton's
hearing marks a fresh bid by immigration rights advocates to
halt provisions of the Arizona law, already partially upheld by
the U.S. Supreme Court, that requires police to check the
immigration status of people they stop and suspect are in the
Attorneys for the ACLU and several immigration groups have
asked Judge Bolton to temporarily block the law until she can
consider fresh arguments against it that differ from those
presented to the high court.
The immigration rights advocates say the law would
discriminate against Latinos and, by having police hold people
while their immigration status is verified, would violate
constitutional protections against unreasonable search and
"We have a good deal of evidence that the law would have a
disparate impact on Latinos and Mexicans in particular, and that
the law was enacted out of a discriminatory intent," said Linton
Joaquin, general counsel for the National Immigration Law
Center, one of the groups leading the court challenge.
Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer, a major White House
foe in the battle over illegal immigration, signed a broad
crackdown into law in 2010, complaining that the federal
government failed to secure the state's border with Mexico. An
estimated 360,000 illegal immigrants live in Arizona.
The Obama administration challenged that law in court,
saying the Constitution gives the federal government sole
authority over immigration policy.
In a split ruling issued in June, the Supreme Court struck
down rules that would have required immigrants to carry
immigration papers at all times, banned illegal immigrants from
soliciting work in public places, and allowed police to arrest
them without warrants if they were suspected of committing
crimes warranting deportation.
Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said it is time the Arizona
law "be allowed to take effect."
"Governor Brewer has full faith and confidence that Arizona
law enforcement can implement this law without violating
individuals' civil rights," he said.
On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled that Alabama and
Georgia could go ahead with their laws allowing police checks of
criminal suspects in line with the Supreme Court's ruling on the
Arizona law, though it blocked other parts of those states'
In the Supreme Court's majority opinion, Justice Anthony
Kennedy left open the possibility that, once the law takes
effect, constitutional or other challenges can proceed against
the Arizona requirement that police check the immigration status
of people they stop and suspect are in the country illegally.
Meanwhile, Obama has implemented a new policy allowing
illegal immigrants between the ages of 15 and 30 who entered the
country as children to apply for permits that will allow them to
stay in the country and work legally for two years.
Within hours of this policy taking effect last Wednesday,
Brewer clashed with the White House by issuing an executive
order denying state benefits, such as driver's licenses, to
illegal immigrants shielded from deportation under the new
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, a Republican, issued a
similar challenge to the Obama policy by also vowing to withhold
(Additional reporting by Tim Gaynor; Writing by Alex
Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Philip Barbara)
- Immigration Issues
- Politics & Government
- Arizona law