Arizona on Thursday appealed a judge’s decision to block key parts of the state’s crackdown on illegal immigrants and police in Phoenix arrested scores of activists protesting the remaining measures in the law.
Lawyers for Governor Jan Brewer and Arizona asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to lift an injunction blocking the most intrusive parts of the law, known as SB 1070, and asked for the appeal to be handled quickly.
Tensions over the law have inflamed a national debate over immigration, which has festered for decades and promises to play into the elections in November, when President Barack Obama’s Democrats are fighting to retain control of Congress.
U.S. District Court judge Susan Bolton on Wednesday blocked the law’s most controversial elements, arguing that immigration matters are the federal government’s responsibility.
The law had drawn wide popular support in this state bordering Mexico and across the United States as a whole, but was opposed by President Barack Obama and human rights groups.
The U.S. Marshals Service said Bolton had received hate mail following the ruling. Additionally, aides to a U.S. Congressman opposed to the crackdown reported finding a shattered window and a bullet at a district office in Arizona.
Brewer issued a statement saying she had filed the appeal, asking that the suspended provisions “go into effect pending a decision on the merits of this case.” The case was widely expected to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Republican-controlled state legislature passed the law three months ago to try to drive nearly half a million illegal immigrants out of Arizona, and stem the flow of human and drug smugglers over the border from Mexico.