Arizona signals plan to appeal decision on human smuggling law

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 07, 2015 6:41 PM

(Reuters) - The Arizona attorney general's office plans to appeal a federal judge's ruling that struck down a 2005 law against human smuggling, his spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The office of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican elected to the position in November, filed the notice of intent to appeal on Tuesday, which was the deadline, said his spokeswoman Kristen Keogh.

In November, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck down Arizona's law against human smuggling, finding it imposed additional and different state penalties than federal law and infringed on the exclusive power of federal authorities to prosecute these specific smuggling crimes.

The decision represented another setback for the southwestern state that borders Mexico to use Arizona law and local police to stem the flow of unauthorized immigrants. A number of those state provisions have been overturned in court.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys had sought to have the Arizona law overturned. It was first passed in 2005 and slightly amended by a sweeping, controversial anti-illegal immigration law in 2010.

Some provisions of that law, including a ban on unauthorized immigrants seeking work in public places, were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012.

Keogh declined to say on what grounds the Arizona Attorney General's Office planned to appeal Judge Bolton's decision.

The state's bid to overturn the decision would go to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

Brnovich campaigned on pledges to target human traffickers and take on President Barack Obama's administration against what he called federal overreach that threatened state sovereignty.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Eric Walsh)