Judge blocks parts of Arizona immigration law

(AP) - A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the mostcontroversial parts of Arizona's immigration law from takingeffect, delivering a last-minute victory to opponents of thecrackdown. The overall law will still take effect Thursday, but without theprovisions that angered opponents - including sections thatrequired officers to check a person's immigration status whileenforcing other laws. The judge also put on hold parts of the law that requiredimmigrants to carry their papers at all times, and made it illegalfor undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that those sectionsshould be put on hold until the courts resolve the issues. Otherprovisions of the law, many of them procedural and slight revisionsto existing Arizona immigraiton statute, will go into effect at12:01 a.m. The ruling came just as police were making last-minutepreparations to begin enforcement of the law and protesters wereplanning large demonstrations to speak out against the measure. Atleast one group planned to block access to federal offices, daringofficers to ask them about their immigration status. The volume of the protests will likely be turned down a fewnotches because of the ruling by Bolton, a Clinton appointee whosuddenly became a crucial figure in the immigration debate when shewas assigned the seven lawsuits filed against the Arizona law. Lawyers for the state contend the law was a constitutionallysound attempt by Arizona - the busiest illegal gateway into thecountry - to assist federal immigration agents and lessen borderwoes such as the heavy costs for educating, jailing and providinghealth care for illegal immigrants. Opponents argued the law will lead to racial profiling, conflictwith federal immigration law and distract local police fromfighting more serious crimes. The U.S. Justice Department, civilrights groups and a Phoenix police officer had asked the judge foran injunction to prevent the law from being enforced. To view the full ruling click here

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