Arizona Immigration Law Partially Blocked By Appeals Court

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Monday against the state of Arizona, supporting a lower court’s decision to block the most contentious parts of the state’s contested immigration law from going into effect.

The decision, which among other things blocks the law requiring police officers to determine the immigration status of people stopped for questioning, is touted as a victory for the Obama Administration, which said the law interfered with the federal government’s authority over immigration.

“By imposing mandatory obligations on state and local officers, Arizona interferes with the federal government’s authority to implement its priorities and strategies in law enforcement, turning Arizona officers into state-directed agents,” the appellate panel said, according to Bloomberg.

Arizona’s immigration law, SB1070, went into effect last July 29 and almost immediately sparked outrage in the Hispanic community as well as with pro-immigration groups. An economic boycott against the state of Arizona by immigration activists followed, which cost Arizona more than $140 million, according to an analysis by the Washington-based Center for American Progress.

Besides domestic disputes over the bill, the presidents of five Central and South American nations also protested the law.

The bill also prompted the proposal of a host a similar pieces of legislation, with over a dozen U.S. states currently considering passing laws similar to Arizona’s.

Both Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne expressed their disapproval of the ruling that continued an injunction against four key elements of the bill.

“I note that the Ninth Circuit relied heavily on the opposition of foreign governments in upholding the injunction on two of the four elements,” Horne said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “As the dissent by Judge Carlos T. Bea eloquently stated, foreign governments should not be given a ‘heckler’s veto’ to establish preemption by the federal government over the state.”

Brewer blamed poor federal border security for local crime and increased drug violence as a reason for the bill and said that she and Horne will consult with the legislature’s attorneys to decide on the next move, which could involve an immediate petititon to the U.S. Supreme Court to lift the injunction.

“I remain steadfast in my belief that Arizona and other states have a sovereign right and obligation to protect their citizens and enforce immigration law in accordance with federal statute. Monday’s decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Judge Bolton’s suspension of key provisions of SB 1070 does harm to the safety and well-being of Arizonans who suffer the negative effects of illegal immigration,” she said, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Caribbean

  • A U.S. company claims the Cuban government’s actions led to the sinking of a disabled barge, which was adrift in Cuban waters as it carried $2 million worth of assistance for victims of Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

Central America

  • Nicaraguans in Managua told news outlet El País they believed the conflict between Costa Rica and Nicaragua over the Isla Calero (Isla Portillos in Nicaragua) and the pending talks between the countries tomorrow at Peñas Blancas was invented by politicians and does not concern the public.
  • Costa Rican opposition politicians reiterated their rejection on Friday to U.S. military ships docking in Costa Rica under the pretext of fighting drug trafficking.

Andes

  • A Venezuelan, jailed in the U.S. on charges of attempting to extort $1.5 million from a businessman involved in a securities controversy, has pleaded guilty.
  • Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he will not change his country’s labor laws as part of a deal with the United States to speed passage of a stalled trade deal, but will strengthen existing regulations.
  • Ten people died in two separate road accidents on the weekend in Peru’s mountainous region when the vehicles they were riding in plunged into ravines.

Southern Cone

Image: ADLavinsky @ Flickr.

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