News / USA

Arizonans React to Court Ruling as Limited Immigration Law Takes Effect


Residents of the Western U.S. state of Arizona reacted Thursday to a federal judge's ruling  that blocked key parts of a controversial state immigration law. 

Judge Bolton temporarily blocked some of the broad powers that the law would have given local police in immigration enforcement, which under the US constitution is a federal responsibility.  The blocked measures would have allowed police to demand proof of legal residence from those stopped or arrested, when there was reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally.  

Arizona governor Jan Brewer has appealed the ruling, saying the U.S. government has not been doing its job.

The law's opponents celebrated in Phoenix and in the border town of Nogales.

At Nogales police headquarters, Captain Heriberto Zuniga sorted out the parts of the law that are blocked and those that remain in effect.   He says that not a lot will change because his department has always cooperated with the Border Patrol in reporting those who have apparently crossed the border illegally.

"We will literally have a Border Patrol vehicle at our traffic stop or at our location where we came in contact with these individuals within three to eight minutes," he said.

This border town is ground zero for illegal immigration, and Nogales senior officer Mario Morales says the hills are filled with human smugglers and drug traffickers.   He points to a road at the end of town. "This roadway leads right into the mountains south of here," he states. "Everything south of here leads into Mexico."

He says the road and surrounding canyons are used by those with smuggling contraband or people.

Without evidence of a crime, he has limited ability to hold anyone he suspects of entering the country illegally.

"They say, I'm walking away, and it's happened to me, they walk away," Moralas recalls, "I cannot legally detain them.  Now, if they've violated any kind of Arizona law, any kind of Arizona statute, committed any crime, then by law I can detain them."

Opponents of the disputed Arizona law say that immigration enforcement should rest with federal officials.  Others says stronger measures are needed to stop illegal migrants.

Legal analyst Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California, Irvine, law school says the Arizona case is far from finished. "No matter what the federal court of appeals argues," he says, "whoever loses there is going to seek United States Supreme Court review."

In Nogales, Mexican immigrant Arturo Cuauatcomc says it is time for Arizonans to leave the divisive law behind and come together.  "Together we could make Arizona the best state.  Together, no separation.  So just think about that," he states.

In Washington, congressional Democrats, including Representative Nydia Velazquez (Democrat, New York), urged other states to leave immigration to federal officials.

But others complain that Washington has left local officials to sort out the problem.

The courts will decide the fate of the Arizona statute, including its blocked provisions, and here along the border, police say they will do what they can under existing law to help the federal government do its job.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs