updated 8/9/2005 8:35:52 PM ET 2005-08-10T00:35:52

A federal appeals court refused Tuesday to block part of an Arizona law that denies some public benefits to illegal immigrants, saying the plaintiffs had no right to sue.

The voter-approved law appeared on Arizona’s November election ballot. The portion at issue bars illegal immigrants from getting certain public benefits and makes it a crime for public employees to fail to report undocumented immigrants who seek the benefits.

A separate provision, unaffected by the court challenge, requires people to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

The plaintiffs had asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court to rule that U.S. District Judge David Bury had abused his discretion when he refused to grant a preliminary injunction to stop the law from going into effect until after a trial is held to determine its constitutionality.

The appeals court panel denied their request, saying the plaintiffs had not demonstrated they were hurt by the law.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund had argued that the law was unconstitutional on the grounds that it usurps the federal government’s power over immigration and naturalization.

Supporters argued it was necessary because Arizona, the busiest illegal entry point on the country’s southern border, spends millions of dollars annually to provide food stamps, welfare and other social services to illegal immigrants.

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