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PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge dealt a serious rebuke to Arizona's toughest-in-the-nation immigration law on Wednesday when she put most of the crackdown on hold just hours before it was to take effect.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton shifts the immigration debate to the courts and sets up a lengthy legal battle that may not be decided until the Supreme Court weighs in. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer said the state will likely appeal the ruling and seek to get the judge's order overturned.
But for now, opponents of the law have prevailed: The provisions that most angered opponents will not take effect, including sections that required officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws.
The judge also delayed parts of the law that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times, and made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places — a move aimed at day laborers. In addition, the judge blocked officers from making warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants.
"Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked," Bolton, a Clinton appointee, said in her decision.
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