Thursday: Supporters, Opponents Gear Up for Arizona Immigration Fight; Foreclosures Rise Nationwide

BY Lea Winerman  July 29, 2010 at 9:26 AM EDT

Supporters, Opponents Gear Up for Long Fight Over Arizona Immigration Law

One day after a federal judge blocked key provisions of Arizona’s new immigration law from going into effect, both supporters and opponents of the law are gearing up for a long fight.

U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton’s injunction blocked several of the most controversial provisions of the law from going into effect while she finishes hearing the case against it. The ruling was a victory for the U.S. Justice Department, which is suing Gov. Jan Brewer and the state of Arizona over the law.

Brewer said that she plans to battle for the law “all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.”

On CNN, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said that’s a likely possibility:

I think this is a case very much destined for United States Supreme Court. It is the kind of big issue relating to the responsibilities of state versus federal government on a very important matter [...] I think the Supreme Court will get involved probably next year. The issue that’s up in the air is will the law be in effect while the appeals process goes forward? At the moment the answer is no — at least this one provision. But certainly an appeals process will begin. If not immediately, then soon.

Meanwhile, the New York Times writes that the decision sends a signal to other states considering similar legislation:

Although Judge Bolton’s ruling is not final, it seems likely to halt, at least temporarily, an expanding movement by states to combat illegal immigration by making it a state crime to be an immigrant without legal documents and by imposing new requirements on state and local police officers to enforce immigration law.

“This is a warning to any other jurisdiction” considering a similar law, said Thomas A. Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund , which brought a separate suit against the law that is also before Judge Bolton.

Seventeen other state legislatures had introduced similar legislation, and in Utah, Oklahoma and South Carolina, the political climate looked favorable for passage, the Washington Post reported.

The temporarily blocked provisions include one that makes it a crime for legal immigrants to fail to carry papers proving their legal status; one that allows police to make warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants; and one that requires police officers to question the immigration status of anyone they arrest for another reason who they have “reasonable suspicion” is an illegal immigrant.

Both supporters and opponents of the law plan to continue protests and demonstrations Thursday, the day the law was set to go into effect the Los Angeles Times reported.

In Arizona, police departments had practical concerns on their mind. Departments that had spent two months training their officers on the new law were scrambling to figure out what the ruling meant for their daily work, the Arizona Republic reported.

“We are bound to enforce the law and that means that we enforce it correctly,” Phoenix police Sgt. Sgt. Tommy Thompson told the paper, saying that officers needed to have some directive by the Thursday morning. “It’s certainly a challenge for us to meet that deadline, but it’s something that we will do our best to be ready to follow the guidelines laid out by the judge at this point.”

Foreclosures up in 75 percent of Metro Areas

The foreclosure rate rose in three-quarters of the nation’s cities in the first half of 2010, the real estate data company RealtyTrac said Thursday.

The main cause of foreclosures has shifted from bad mortgages to unemployment, according to the report.

“The fragile stability achieved in many local housing markets hinges on improvements in the underlying economy, specifically job growth,” RealtyTrac Chief Executive James J. Saccacio said, according to Dow Jones Newswires. “If unemployment remains persistently high and foreclosure prevention efforts only delay the inevitable, then we could continue to see increased foreclosure activity and a corresponding weakness in home prices in many metro areas.”

Arlington Cemetery Hearings Set to Begin

A Senate subcommittee is set to hear testimony Thursday morning on mismanagement at Arlington National Cemetery — the final resting place for many of the nation’s war dead. In June, an army investigation found dysfunctional management, mismarked and unmarked graves and problems with record-keeping at the cemetery.

This week, the Washington Post detailed problems with 130 more graves and a 20-year record of management issues at the cemetery.