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Utah Immigration Act Judge Awaits Top Court’s Arizona Ruling

The judge considering a federal government bid to block enforcement of three Utah immigration statutes said he won’t rule on the request until after the U.S. Supreme Court decides a case involving a similar Arizona law.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups in Salt Lake City, who heard arguments from Utah and U.S. government lawyers on Feb. 17, issued a two-page order yesterday saying no ruling would be made until after the high court ruled.

“Although Arizona’s law is different from Utah’s in several respects, some aspects are sufficiently similar that the Supreme Court’s ruling will likely inform this court in its decision,” Waddoups wrote.

The Supreme Court in December said it would review a federal appeals court decision last year to block an Arizona law requiring police officers to check immigration status when they arrest or stop somebody and have “reasonable suspicion” that person is illegally present in the U.S.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law a similar measure last year.

Waddoups said he would continue a temporary restraining order he issued in May, blocking enforcement of the Utah statute and two others the U.S. asserts infringe the federal government’s sovereign control of immigration policy, until he rules on the federal government’s request for a preliminary injunction.

The case is Utah Coalition of La Raza v. Herbert, 11cv401, U.S. District Court for the District of Utah (Salt Lake City).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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