Arizona governor’s lawyers file first brief Thursday in appeal of immigration law ruling

By Jacques Billeaud, AP
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ariz. governor files brief in immigration battle

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer’s lawyers on Thursday filed the first brief in their appeal of a ruling that put the most controversial elements of Arizona’s new immigration law on hold.

Brewer asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to reverse the ruling U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton made last month.

The governor’s lawyers say the federal government hasn’t effectively enforced immigration law at the border and in the state’s interior and that the state’s intent in passing the law was to assist federal authorities, as Congress has encouraged.

They also said the judge erred by accepting speculation by the federal government that the law might burden legal immigrants and by concluding that the federal government would likely prevail.

The Justice Department went to court in a bid to invalidate the law. Charles Miller, a spokesman for the federal agency, declined to comment Thursday.

Bolton blocked provisions of the law that require immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers and that require police, while enforcing other laws, to question people’s immigration status if there is a reasonable suspicion they’re in the country illegally.

But the judge let other portions take effect late last month, such a ban on blocking traffic when people seek or offer day-labor services on streets, and amendments to existing state immigration laws.

Before Bolton’s ruling, Justice Department lawyers argued that local police shouldn’t be allowed to enforce the law because, in part, it’s disrupting the United States’ relations with Mexico and other countries.

They also have said the law’s requirements that law enforcement check on people’s immigration status set a mandatory policy that goes beyond what the federal government requires, and it would burden the federal agency that responds to immigration-status inquiries.

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