A federal judge will hear arguments July 22 on whether to allow Arizona's tough new law aimed at illegal immigrants take effect.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton will consider a request by three civil rights groups to place the law on hold while the issue of its legality is litigated. They argue that the law unconstitutionally infringes on the exclusive right of the federal government to control immigration policy.
The statute, set to take effect July 29 unless blocked, requires police who have stopped someone for another reason to check their immigration status if they reasonably believe the person is in this country illegally.
Another section permits police to charge illegal immigrants with violating state trespassing laws. There also are provisions aimed at day laborers soliciting work on streets and individuals who knowingly "harbor" illegal immigrants.
Aside from questions of federal preemption, challengers say the law is likely to lead to racial profiling despite a provision in the legislation precluding police from using race, ethnicity or national origin when deciding who to question.
At the same time, Bolton also will consider arguments by Gov. Jan Brewer that the entire lawsuit should be thrown out.
"No part of SB 1070 addresses the admission, authorization or deportation of aliens from the United States," attorneys for the governor argued in their own legal papers. Instead, they argued the legislation simply allows state enforcement of federal immigration laws.
Anyway, the governor's lawyers said, the individuals who are being represented by the three groups - the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund - have no right to sue because they cannot show personal harm from the law.