Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Arizona Immigration Law: Tough Questions for Both Sides at Hearing

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Arizona Immigration Law: Tough Questions for Both Sides at Hearing

Article excerpt

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit is weighing whether to overturn a federal judge's decision in July to block some of the most controversial sections of the Arizona immigration law.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) took her fight to fully enforce the state's tough new immigration law to a federal appeals court in San Francisco on Monday, where the judges closely questioned lawyers on both sides of the case.

Lawyers for Arizona are asking the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a federal judge's decision in July to block some of the most controversial sections of the law, known as SB 1070. The judge ruled that portions of the Arizona immigration law were preempted by federal immigration law.

After the hearing, Governor Brewer said she was optimistic. "Although the judges asked challenging questions of both sides during this morning's hearing, we are hopeful that after carefully considering the arguments, the Ninth Circuit will lift the stay and allow SB 1070 to be enforced," she said in a statement.

It is difficult to predict the outcome of a case based on questions raised by appeals-court judges during an hour-long hearing. But some analysts are predicting a split decision, with Arizona prevailing on some issues and losing on others.

The case has fostered a sharp divide in the United States between those who favor tougher immigration laws and stricter border protection and those advocating a more lenient approach to undocumented immigrants.

After its passage last spring, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder expressed concern about Arizona's new law and the possibility it might lead to widespread racial profiling. The administration filed suit and successfully urged the federal judge to block enforcement of the law.

One invalidated portion required police officers to check the immigration status of anyone involved in a police stop when the officer had reasonable suspicion that the individual was unlawfully present in the US. …

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