Arizona immigration law: Backers are hopeful after court hearing
A federal judge heard a Justice Department case against the new Arizona immigration law Thursday. The questions she asked of both sides may hint at how she may rule.
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Throughout the hearing, Judge Bolton fired a flurry of questions and comments that hinted at her thought process. At one point she asked Mr. Kneedler why Arizona cannot be as inhospitable as it wants toward those who enter the US illegally. And to Bouma she pointed out that the removal process of someone with illegal status is a “complex, highly litigated determination” that a federal immigration judge makes.Skip to next paragraph
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Gov. Jan Brewer (R), who in April signed the law creating several state crimes related to immigration, watched the proceedings in the crowded courtroom and later told reporters she felt confident the state would prevail.
The judge adjourned the hearing Thursday afternoon without saying when she will rule. Whenever her decision comes down, it is likely to have major implications – including whether other states will move to adopt similar legislation.
Outside the courtroom, opponents of the statute vowed to stage acts of civil disobedience whether or not the law is implemented July 29. “Do not work! Do not buy! Do not comply!” read fliers distributed to the crowd. Police arrested seven demonstrators who held a giant banner and blocked traffic at a busy intersection.
Jose Luis Hernandez, who stood in front of the courthouse with his family, says he hopes the judge quashes the law because it targets people on the basis of their appearance. “I’m a legal resident, but people like me will get stopped,” says Mr. Hernandez, who came here from Mexico two decades ago.
Backers of the Arizona law also held demonstrations, holding signs that showed support for cracking down on illegal immigration.
Bryan Berkland, who says he is a "tea party" movement member, expressed disdain for the federal government’s suit. “It’s completely unfounded,” he says.
He favors the law to get a handle on illegal immigration and says the statute has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.
“Illegal is illegal – it’s breaking the law,” Mr. Berkland says. “And this is a nation of laws.”
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