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With ruling, battle over Arizona immigration law enters new phase

Both opponents and supporters of the Arizona immigration law are confident of winning in the end. But Wednesday's ruling may cool tempers for a while.

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“This is not a full victory for us,” says Sarahi Uribe, who is affiliated with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and will still take part in the Phoenix protests. “SB 1070 is a symptom of a larger problem.”

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For supporters of the law, Wednesday's setback was just one step of a long process.

“We’re resilient people,” says Kelly Townsend, president of the Greater Phoenix Tea Party. “We’re determined, and this is nothing to be dissuaded about.”

Ms. Townsend and others say they are prepared to take the case all the way to the US Supreme Court if necessary.

Mr. Dane of FAIR called the judge’s decision a “mixed bag” but a step in the right direction toward full implementation of the law on appeal. Dane and others say the statute is needed to get a handle on illegal immigration because the federal government has failed to do so.

“Immigration enforcement has to occur at one level or the other, and if the Obama administration is unwilling to do it, the states have to step up to the plate,” he says. “That’s what Arizona did.”

The court decision brought some relief to Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor, who, along with the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, expressed his opposition to the law because he feels the law will erode community support and hamper investigations.

Enforcing immigration laws is federal responsibility, he says, and “should not be done in piecemeal fashion or on the back of law enforcement.”