U.S. District Judge
Bolton's ruling found that the Obama administration
was likely to prevail at trial in proving the two provisions — and two
other ones in the sweeping law — were an unconstitutional attempt by
As the clock ticked down toward the implementation of the law known as SB 1070, tensions had been rising as both sides braced for confrontations in the streets and waited to see how — and if — the judge would rule before the was to take effect Thursday.
Bolton ruled on requests from civil rights lawyers and the Obama administration to halt the law. It requires police to determine the status of people they stop and also think are in the country illegally. The law also makes it a state crime to lack immigration documents.
Busloads of demonstrators were arriving from
Arpaio, whose downtown high-rise offices were to be targeted by demonstrators on Thursday, released a statement before Bolton's ruling warning that he would not tolerate lawbreakers. "Activists and their celebrity sympathizers who wish to target this community and this sheriff by attempting to disrupt our jail and patrol operations will be unsuccessful, as we will be fully prepared to meet those challenges head-on with appropriately staffed personnel and resources," he said.
Several police officials expected no dramatic changes in operations Thursday. Police already check the immigration status of people they book into jail or people who lack a valid U.S. ID.
Still, there remained confusion about what some of the law's provisions mean. The
The law does state, however, that "any person who
is arrested shall have the person's immigration status determined
before the person is released." An attorney for Gov.
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