Federal judge blocks Utah immigration law

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Utah [official website] on Tuesday blocked the state's controversial immigration law [HB 497 materials; JURIST news archive], less than 24 hours after it took effect. Judge Clark Waddoups issued a temporary restraining order [Salt Lake Tribune report] at the request of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) [advocacy websites] and other plaintiffs that challenged the law [JURIST report] last week. The bill, which has been compared to the Arizona immigration law [SB 1070 materials; JURIST news archive], was signed into law [JURIST report] in March by Governor Gary Herbert [official website] and requires police to check the immigration status of anyone arrested for an alleged felony or serious misdemeanor. The lawsuit claims that the law unconstitutionally interferes with federal powers over immigration enforcement and violates the Fourth Amendment search and seizure provision and the Equal Protection clause of the US Constitution. A hearing for a preliminary injunction was scheduled for July 14.

Several other state legislatures have also acted recently to implement so-called "Arizona style" immigration laws. Last month, the Indiana House of Representatives [official website] approved legislation [JURIST report] to revoke tax credits from businesses that hire illegal immigrants and require the use of the E-verify System [official website] to check the eligibility status of employees. Also in April, the Georgia General Assembly [official website] approved a bill requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone they have probable cause to believe has committed a criminal offense and requiring businesses to use E-Verify to check the immigration status of potential employees. Similar legislation has also been approved in Alabama, Virginia and Oklahoma [JURIST reports]. Arizona's law is currently enjoined, and Governor Jan Brewer has pledged to appeal to the US Supreme Court [JURIST reports].

 

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