WASHINGTON, July 28 A U.S. judge in Arizona on
Wednesday put key parts of the border state's tough new
immigration law on hold before it is due to come into effect on
The U.S. Justice Department had argued provisions of the
law encroached on federal authority over immigration policy and
Here are some scenarios for what could happen next:
ARIZONA PLANS TO APPEAL
Arizona's Republican Governor Jan Brewer said the state
plans to file an expedited appeal with the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit seeking to lift the injunction
against the immigration law.
The appeals court, based in San Francisco, could consider
whether to lift the injunction and let the full law go into
effect or request legal briefs and arguments from both sides
before ruling on Arizona's request.
It was not clear how quickly Arizona would move to file its
appeal. Regardless of how the appeals court rules, either side
could then appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. COURT HEARS FORMAL ARGUMENTS
While Judge Susan Bolton granted a preliminary injunction
against the Arizona law, she did so on the grounds that she
believes the Obama administration would ultimately succeed on
the merits of the case when presented in court.
Therefore, Bolton would still need to hear arguments from
both sides on the merits of the federal government's challenge,
requiring lengthy legal briefs, and likely hear oral arguments,
a process that can take months.
Either side could then appeal to the Ninth Circuit and
ultimately the Supreme Court.
With the initial victory in hand, that could lead some
lawmakers in the U.S. Congress to try to forge a compromise on
a comprehensive immigration reform plan that has been elusive
regardless of which political party holds the White House.
But the chances are slim that the Obama administration and
lawmakers will reach a deal before November's congressional
elections in which Republicans are expected to make gains.
Republicans demand more effort to secure the southern
border with Mexico and have said the initial deployment of
National Guard troops to the border was inadequate.
Many Republicans also oppose giving amnesty to the nearly
11 million illegal immigrants believed to be in the United
States to allow them to remain in the country.
Obama supports allowing undocumented immigrants in good
standing to pay a fine, learn English and get on the track to
citizenship. He also has supported tightening border security
and clamping down on employers that hire undocumented workers.
With the ruling, the Arizona legislature could try to alter
the law to address concerns raised by Judge Bolton. Arizona's
governor could call a special session to make those changes.
State lawmakers already have amended the immigration law
once to try to prevent racial profiling. Under the changes,
police will be required to investigate the immigration status
of people they reasonably suspect are in the country illegally
only in the case of lawful contact such as a traffic stop.
(Additional reporting by Tim Gaynor in Phoenix; Editing by