On Wednesday a Federal District Court judge granted an injunction against four of the strongest provisions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law. The ruling upheld the jurisdiction of the federal government in enforcing citizenship issues, but acknowledged some state control over specific policies effecting illegal immigrants within their borders.
The blocked elements of the law include the requirement that law officers verify citizenship during traffic stops or arrests, a section making it a crime not to carry immigration papers, a provision making illegal for undocumented workers to seek employment and the authorization of warrantless arrests of illegals. Although several of these provisions seem clearly contrary to the Bill of Rights, the ruling avoids extending Constitutional rights to non-citizens and rules based primarily on practical rather than Constitutional or even legal arguments, reasoning that they create too much paperwork or would be difficult to enforce equitably.
Remaining restrictions include a prohibition on sanctuary cities and a modification of the law to allow civil suits against jurisdictions which create an illegal-friendly environment, plus making it illegal to stop a vehicle to pick up day laborers and additional penalties for human smuggling. Most of these provisions were allowed because they are extensions of existing state laws and not specifically related to the citizenship status or identity of immigrants.
Critics have pointed out that the judge who made the ruling is a Clinton appointee and claimed that the federal court system is biased towards the interests of the federal government. Some critics have gone farther, even claiming that the federal suit and the ruling are effectively acts of war against the state of Arizona.
The case will be appealed in the left-leaning 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, and Arizona may file a countersuit against the Department of Justice for not enforcing federal immigration laws.