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Federal judge blocks key parts of Arizona immigration law

The ruling halts implementation of provisions that require police to determine the immigration status of people they stop and suspect of being in the U.S. illegally. An immediate appeal is expected.

July 28, 2010|By Nicholas Riccardi and Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times

Faye Yanez, 65, and her husband were leaving a Home Depot in Tucson on Wednesday morning when they heard of the decision. "We feel slighted," said Yanez, a school teacher. "The state should have a right to take care of the state because the federal government isn't doing anything."

Susie Baker, 53, who remodels homes in Tucson, felt differently. "I am thrilled," she said as she headed into the store. "I think Jan Brewer is out of her mind. She is bringing harm to Arizona."

Baker said she often hires Latinos on home projects, and doesn't ask them their immigration status.

"To me, it doesn't matter," she said. "They are willing to do the work."

Politicians' reactions also were divided largely on whether they supported the bill. It received votes from all Republicans in the state Legislature and no Democrats.

The state's two Republican U.S. senators, John Kyl -- who recommended Bolton for the federal bench -- and John McCain said in a statement that they were disappointed by the ruling. "Instead of wasting tax payer resources filing a lawsuit against Arizona and complaining that the law would be burdensome, the Obama administration should have focused its efforts on working with Congress to provide the necessary resources to support the state in its efforts to act where the federal government has failed to take responsibility," they said.

Outside the federal courthouse in Phoenix, Vice Mayor Michael Nowakowski, a Democrat and strong foe of the law, said debate over SB 1070 had been a political sideshow that didn't make the state safer. He dismissed polls showing a majority of voters in Arizona and in the U.S. back the measure.

"Polls are for politicians before elections; they're not for civil rights," said Nowakowski, contending that many civil rights laws would have polled poorly in the 1950s and '60s.

Michelle Dallacroce, a Phoenix-based activist against illegal immigration, said she saw a silver lining in the ruling. "About a year or two ago, during the [presidential] elections, the media had a blackout on what was going on regarding illegal immigration," Dallacroce said.

Now, immigration is constantly on the news. "In 2010," she said, "Arizona has jump-started this major issue."

nicholas.riccardi@latimes.com anna.gorman@latimes.com

Riccardi reported from Phoenix, Gorman from Tucson. Times staff writer Nicole Santa Cruz in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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