A federal judge found that parts of the controversial Arizona law designed to stop illegal immigration might violate well established federal law and she temporarily halted its implementation. Other parts of the bill were permitted to go forward.
Those parts of the law blocked by the Judge included that section which permitted law enforcement to inquire as to the immigration status of an individual if the individual were for example, detained on a traffic matter. The Judge also blocked that part of the law which required immigrants to carry their immigration papers on them at all times.
The Judge ruled that only the federal government has the power to detain people on those grounds, not the states. The Arizona Governor and other officials who were proponents of the new law said they would continue to fight to keep those portions of the law in the bill, presumably on appeal. The Arizona bill as originally drafted would have permitted law enforcement to conduct an investigation into the immigration status of the detained individual which could lead to an arrest for being in the state illegally. This would have been a significant expansion of the state’s rights into what the U.S. Constitution says is exclusively the jurisdiction of the Federal government. It would have also opened up Hispanic people and those who may “look like immigrants” to be subject to questioning by law enforcement. A whole host of constitutional issues would have been raised to include equal protection issues and rights protected under the 4th amendment and known as search and seizure.