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Immigration law blocked by Judge Susan Bolton. Arizona Gov. Brewer will appeal and case could end in Supreme Court.

Immigration Enforcement.- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the controversial anti illegal immigration law last april.

PHOENIX — A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law from going into effect, a ruling that at least temporarily squashed a state policy that had inflamed the national debate over immigration.

Judge Susan Bolton of Federal District Court issued a preliminary injunction against sections of the law, scheduled to take effect on Thursday, that called for police officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws and required immigrants to prove that they were authorized to be in the country or risk state charges. She issued the injunction in response to a legal challenge brought against the law by the Obama administration.

A spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican who signed the law and has campaigned on it for election to a full term, said Wednesday that the governor would appeal the injunction on Thursday and ask for a speedy review. Legal experts predicted that the case could end up before the Supreme Court.

The law, designed to seek and deport illegal immigrants in a state that is the principal gateway for illegal border crossers, had provoked intense debate from coast to coast, drawing support in several polls but generating boycotts of the state by major civil rights groups and several cities and towns.

This undated photo taken from video and provided by KSAZ-TV FOX 10, shows U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on the bench in Phoenix, Ariz. Bolton, a former state court judge appointed to the federal bench in 2000 by President Bill Clinton, will decide whether to block Arizona's sweeping new immigration law, which requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers have a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally. (AP Photo/KSAZ-TV FOX 10)

It renewed calls for an overhaul of federal immigration law and led to repeated rebukes of it from President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who maintained that immigration policy is under the purview of the federal government, not individual states. The Mexican government, joined by seven other Latin American nations, supported one of the lawsuits against the law; the attorneys general of several states backed Arizona.

The ruling came four days before 1,200 National Guard members were scheduled to report to the Southwest border to assist federal and local law enforcement agencies there, part of the Obama administration’s response to growing anxiety over the border and immigration that has fed support for the law.

Judge Bolton, appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton, did allow some, less debated provisions of the law to go into effect, including one that bans cities from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration agents.

But she largely sided with arguments in a lawsuit by the Obama administration that the law, rather than closely hewing to existing federal statutes, as its supporters have claimed, interferes with longstanding federal authority over immigration and could lead to harassment of citizens and legal immigrants.

“Preserving the status quo through a preliminary injunction is less harmful than allowing state laws that are likely pre-empted by federal law to be enforced,” she said.

“There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens,” she wrote. “By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose,” she said, citing a previous Supreme Court case, a “ ‘distinct, unusual and extraordinary’ burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose.”

The judge’s decision was not her final word on the case. READ MORE HERE.