Judge upholds Arizona “show-your-papers” measure in mixed ruling

(Reuters) – A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that police can enforce a controversial Arizona “show-your-papers” provision on illegal immigration that has already been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, but blocked a measure making it a crime to transport or harbor undocumented immigrants.

The provision that was upheld, part of a broader law to combat illegal immigration in the Mexico border state that is home to an estimated 360,000 undocumented immigrants, requires police to check the status of people they stop and suspect are in the country illegally.

In allowing that measure to proceed, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that “plaintiffs have not shown that they are likely to succeed on their facial challenges (to the measure) as a result of the Supreme Court’s opinion in the related case.”

But in a split ruling, Bolton also issued a preliminary injunction blocking a part of the state law that made it a crime to transport, shield or harbor an illegal immigrant within Arizona’s borders.

Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer, a major White House foe in the battle over illegal immigration, signed the state crackdown on illegal immigrants into law in April 2010, complaining that the federal government failed to secure the state’s border with Mexico.

The Obama administration challenged that law in court, saying the Constitution gives the federal government sole authority over immigration policy.

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