Federal Judge Susan Bolton in Phoenix won’t invalidate the entire Arizona immigration law due to become effective next Thursday, but may halt the enactment of a handful of its 14 sections, says the Arizona Republic. Bolton held two hearings yesterday, one on a lawsuit by civil-liberties groups and another on the U.S. Department of Justice’s request for an injunction to halt the law that would allow police officers who have stopped someone in connection with another violation to question him or her about immigration status if reasonable cause exists to suspect the person is in this country illegally.
Bolton asked why the state should not be allowed to require all local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. “Why can’t Arizona be as inhospitable as they wish to people who have remained and entered the United States illegally?” the judge asked. “Who am I to stop the state of Arizona?” She also held the state’s lawyer, John Bouma, to the fire with questions about whether this portion of the state law pre-empts federal law. Bouma said it did not. “Law-enforcement officers have been enforcing federal immigration laws for years,” he said.