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Judge lets lawsuit on Arizona immigration law proceed

By Michael Martinez, CNN
  • Arizona governor and local sheriffs who sought case dismissal are dealt setback
  • Highly controversial parts of law have already been blocked for now
  • Lawsuit by nonprofit, labor and civil rights groups is just one of many

(CNN) -- A federal judge is allowing to proceed a lawsuit by nonprofits and the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the constitutionality of Arizona's controversial immigration law.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton rejected a request by Gov. Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio and other defendants to dismiss the case. The judge issued her order on Friday.

Home to the busiest border crossing for illegal immigration, Arizona has passed a sweeping law allowing police to check a person's immigration status while officers enforce other laws, and which criminalizes people who fail to carry "alien registration papers." That law also is referred to as Senate Bill 1070.

The lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Friendly House, the ACLU and other advocacy and labor groups is one of several challenging the law. The U.S. Justice Department also has filed a lawsuit.

While dealing a setback to the defendants, the judge also ruled against the plaintiffs who had sought an injunction against the law. Bolton called that request "moot" because in the Justice Department suit, the court already has issued a preliminary injunction against the more controversial provisions of the law. In Friday's ruling, the judge also threw out a few of the plaintiffs' claims for "lack of standing."

Under that earlier injunction, the court has already blocked police from asking about immigration status and the provision requiring alien registration papers. The stay also suspends a provision making it a crime "for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply for, or perform work" and another provision "authorizing the warrantless arrest of a person" when there's a reason to believe that person might be subject to deportation.

But other parts of the law have gone into effect, including a ban on so-called sanctuary cities and the criminalizing of hiring day laborers who are undocumented migrants.