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Nations Ask U.S. Court to Join Mexico to Oppose Arizona Law

Nine Latin American countries including Brazil and Argentina asked a U.S. judge to join Mexico in its support of a court ruling blocking key provisions of an Arizona law requiring police to determine the immigration status of people stopped for questioning.

Lawyers for Mexico told the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco in a court filing yesterday that the law interferes with its relations with the U.S. and encourages “an imminent threat of state-sanctioned bias or discrimination.”

The nine Latin American countries asked for permission to join Mexico’s request that the appeals court uphold a lower court’s ruling that Arizona can’t require police to try to determine whether someone is legally in the U.S. and then detain that person if they suspect he isn’t. The other seven countries making the request in a filing yesterday were Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru.

“Mexico seeks to ensure that its citizens present in the U.S. are accorded the human and civil rights granted under the U.S. Constitution,” Mexico said in its filing.

For the almost 20 million Mexican workers, tourists and students “recently” admitted to the U.S. and those who were already in the country, the Arizona law “adversely impacts U.S.-Mexico bilateral relations, Mexican citizens and other people of Latin-American descent present in Arizona,” according to the filing.

“We are aware of the filing,” Paul Senseman, a spokesman for Arizona Governor Janice Brewer, said in an e-mail. He said he expected it to take at least a week for the state to file its response.

Judge’s Ruling

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton in Phoenix, in her July 28 decision, also barred enforcement of provisions of the Arizona law making it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit or perform work. Her ruling also blocked police officers from warrantless arrests of people they think might be illegal immigrants.

Lawyers for Arizona appealed Bolton’s ruling, arguing the federal government has failed to demonstrate its right to stop the state from enforcing the statute. Oral arguments in the appeal are scheduled for the first week of November.

The case is United States of America v. State of Arizona, 10-16645, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco). The lower-court case is United States of America v. State of Arizona, 2:10cv1413, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (Phoenix).

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