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Monday
Apr112011

9th Circuit Court Blocks Enforcement of Arizona's Immigration Law

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX) --  On Monday, a federal appeals court blocked the enforcement of key provisions of an Arizona immigration law considered one of the toughest in the nation.

A central provision of the law requires police officers to check for immigration papers if they have a reasonable suspicion that a subject is undocumented.

Judge Richard Paez, writing for a split panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said, “By imposing mandatory obligations on state and local officers, Arizona interferes with the federal government’s authority to implement its priorities and strategies in law enforcement, turning Arizona officers into state-directed DHS agents.”

Monday’s ruling upholds the decision made by a lower court last July.

Linton Joaquin, General Counsel of the National Immigration Law Center called the opinion a “resounding victory and clear affirmation of the unconstitutionality of the law.”

“It sends a clear message,” he said, “to other states contemplating similar laws. Immigration enforcement is fundamentally a federal concern, and that states are prohibited from enacting immigration legislation on their own.”

Even before Monday’s decision, Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the law in April of 2010, vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

A Justice Department spokesman said he was “pleased” with the ruling.

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