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Federal judge allows Arizona plaintiffs to proceed in immigration suit

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] ruled [order] Tuesday that several Arizona residents have legal standing to challenge the state's controversial immigration law [SB 1070, PDF; JURIST news archive] passed in 2010. The ruling came after several plaintiffs argued that they have legal standing to challenge the statute because its enforcement would have a detrimental effect on them. The plaintiffs argued especially that enforcement of the law would increase the possibility that they would be the target of discrimination by police officers due to their physical characteristics or lack of English proficiency. Arizona countered that plaintiffs' argument was too speculative. Judge Susan Bolton agreed with the plaintiffs that they face a realistic risk of harm from the statute's enforcement. Tuesday's ruling only focused on the standing issue rather than addressing the merit of the case.

Arizona's immigration law has been the subject to heavy criticism and numerous legal challenges. In April, the US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [JURIST report] to determine whether SB 1070 is preempted by federal law. In February, two months after the Supreme Court agreed [JURIST report] to hear the case, attorneys for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [official website] filed [JURIST report] an opening brief asking the court to lift the injunction that barred the immigration law from taking effect.

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