RPT-U.S. challenges Arizona immigration law in court

(Repeats with no change in content)

* White House, Arizona battle over tough state migrant law

* U.S. District judge could issue preliminary stay

By Tim Gaynor

PHOENIX, July 22 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. President Barack Obama’s
administration heads to court on Thursday in a showdown over
whether Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants encroaches on
federal authority over immigration policy and enforcement.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton will hear arguments in a
federal lawsuit seeking to block Arizona’s tough new
immigration law that is scheduled to take effect on July 29.

The Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature passed the
law in April to try to stem the flow of illegal immigrants over
the state’s border with Mexico and cut down on drug trafficking
and crime — setting it on a collision course with the federal
government.

The law requires state and local police, during lawful
contact, to investigate the immigration status of anyone they
reasonably suspect of being an illegal immigrant.

The Justice Department filed suit this month, arguing the
measure would undermine U.S. foreign policy and violate the
U.S. Constitution.

Bolton could issue a preliminary injunction if she finds
the Obama administration would ultimately succeed in its quest
to have the law struck down.

“A ruling in either direction will probably be a very
strong signal about how this judge views the validity of the
Arizona law and the strength of the administration’s
arguments,” said Carissa Hessick, an associate law professor at
Arizona State University.

At stake is “whether the administration has the full
authority over immigration policy and immigration enforcement.
It’s potentially a very big day,” she added.

Immigration, particularly what to do with some 11 million
illegal immigrants working in mostly low-wage jobs across the
United States, is a divisive issue in this election year.

Obama, whose Democratic Party faces an uphill battle to
maintain its congressional majorities in November elections,
backs a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws. It would
tighten workplace and border security, and allow unauthorized
migrants in good standing to learn English, pay a fine and get
on the track to citizenship.

POLLS SHOW SUPPORT FOR LAW

Opinion polls consistently show the Arizona law is
supported by a solid majority of U.S. voters, posing risks for
Obama in opposing the measure, which he warns could lead to a
‘patchwork’ of conflicting state laws across the country.

In a brief filed earlier in the week, lawyers for Arizona
Governor Jan Brewer argued the state had not pre-empted federal
authority, but sought to “assist with the enforcement of
existing federal immigration laws in a constitutional manner.”

In a statement, Brewer said she was confident the court
would “reject President Obama’s attempt to prevent our state
from protecting its citizens as a result of his failure to
enforce federal immigration laws.”

Arizona argued the government had failed in its duty to
secure the porous Mexico border. It said half of all illegal
immigrants in the United States entered through the state and
that illegal migrants who had committed crimes accounted for 17
percent of the state’s prison population.

The Justice Department suit is one of seven opposing the
law. The challenges could delay any final determination of the
law for years.

Investment Advice
(Additional reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Editing
by Jeremy Pelofsky and Peter Cooney)

RPT-U.S. challenges Arizona immigration law in court