PHOENIX - Arizona won't be able to implement key sections of its new immigration law until early November - if not later.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a request by Gov. Jan Brewer for an expedited review of a judge's decision to enjoin the state from enforcing five sections of the law that were supposed to have taken effect Thursday. The judges gave no reason for their refusal.
The order came although attorneys for the U.S. Justice Department had concurred with Brewer's request, though they had asked for a little more time to prepare.
Under Brewer's scenario, the court could have heard arguments the second week in September.
The order, signed by the clerk of the appellate court on behalf of the judges, instead follows the standard procedure for appealing a preliminary injunction. That sets a deadline for the state to file its brief, for the federal government to respond and, finally, for the state to reply.
The order directs the clerk of the appellate court to set a hearing the first week of November. It's unlikely the judges will rule that day. That could push their decision back into December.
And whichever side loses at that point is virtually certain to seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Calls to Brewer's press aides and legal counsel were not returned Saturday.
The order is the latest setback for the governor and other supporters of SB 1070 who say the provisions will help combat illegal immigration in Arizona. They believe the law enforcement provisions - the ones stayed by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton - will give police tools they need to deal with the federal government's failure to secure the border.
In her order Wednesday, Bolton did allow some sections to take effect as scheduled.
For example, state and local police will be able to charge people who, in certain circumstances, knowingly transport, harbor or conceal illegal immigrants. The judge also left undisturbed language that makes it illegal for someone to stop in traffic to hire a day laborer, or for a day laborer to get into a stopped vehicle.
The judge also said Arizona is free to require police to enforce federal immigration laws to the extent permitted by federal law, and for legal Arizona residents to sue cities and agencies that have policies limiting enforcement.
But Bolton placed on "hold" a provision that requires police who have stopped someone for any other reason to verify their legal presence in this country if there is "reasonable suspicion" they are illegal immigrants.
She also barred the state from enforcing laws that:
• Require police to check immigration status before releasing someone who has been arrested.
• Let officers make arrests without a warrant of foreign nationals, legal or otherwise, who commit offenses that makes them "removable" from this country under federal law.
• Make it a violation of state law for foreigners to fail to carry proof that they have a legal right to be in the United States. This last provision effectively makes being an illegal immigrant a state crime.
The judge said attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice had shown her they are likely to succeed after a full-blown trial to prove that the affected sections are pre-empted by federal law.
On StarNet: Find extensive coverage of immigration issues at azstarnet.com/news/local/border