Prominent sections of Arizona's tough and controversial new immigration law won't go into effect as planned tomorrow, following an injunction by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton.
Bolton blocked the highest-profile sections including the requirement that police officers check a person's immigration status and that immigrants must carry paperwork at all times.
Bolton has put the sections of the law on hold until they can be given full consideration in court, the New York Times reports.
"There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens," Judge Bolton wrote in the ruling, which was obtained by the Times. "By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a 'distinct, unusual and extraordinary' burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose."
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, whose 5,500-square-mile south Arizona county is a primary smuggling corridor, said the ruling is another example of the federal government's refusal to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Incredibly, even though there is not one person who can legitimately claim to be harmed by a law that has not even taken effect, the result of an injunction is de facto amnesty through non-enforcement of laws against illegal immigration," Babeu said in a statement. "The federal government refuses to secure the border and leaves it to states like Arizona to bear the costs of its inaction. Yet, when we try to do the job they won't do, in a manner consistent with federal law, they stop us. You couldn't make up something this ridiculous."
The Obama administration via Attorney General Eric Holder is suing the state to overturn SB 1070 on the basis of the Constitution's supremacy clause that immigration is a federal rather than state responsibility.
"President Obama seems to have won the initial legal battle on the basis of the supremacy clause, saying it is inherently his job to enforce immigration law," Babeu added. "We in Arizona could not agree more that is it his job and we demand that he do his job and protect our state, rather that continuing to fight us in court."