Federal Judge Blocks Utah’s Immigration Enforcement Law

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After being in effect for less than 15 hours, Utah’s Arizona-style immigration enforcement law was temporarily blocked by a federal judge, pending a decision in a class-action lawsuit brought by civil rights groups.District Judge Clark Waddoups issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday, ruling that an attorney for the state hadn’t been able to argue that the law wouldn’t cause “irreparable harm” if allowed to stay in effect.

The Judge will hear arguments for a preliminary injunction on July 14.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center are among the plaintiffs suing the state over the law, arguing that it violates federal law in “myriad ways.”

“Federal immigration law leaves no room for this kind of intrusive state legislation,” said Linton Joaquin, general counsel for the National Immigration Law Center, according to the New York Times.

Utah’s HB 497 was signed by Gov. Gary R. Herbert in March, and went into effect this Tuesday. It requires law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of someone they arrest if there is “reasonable suspicion the person is an illegal alien.”

The law is modeled after Arizona’s own controversial legislation, which is currently being challenged by the Department of Justice. The DOJ argues that it violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. A district court judge issued a preliminary injunction last July to prevent that law from going into effect until the case is decided.

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