Nightly News   |  July 28, 2010

Appeals to unblock immigration crackdown could take months

NBC’s Pete Williams offers legal analysis of the status of Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

B. WILLIAMS: justice correspondent Pete Williams we go. And, Pete , two questions. Number one, why did the judge rule the way she did? And what are we looking at next?

PETE WILLIAMS reporting: Well, this is a victory for the Obama administration because the judge agreed with the Justice Department 's main attack on this law, that it crossed a constitutional line on how far the states can go. Judge Susan Bolton said the law would require police to do so many more checks on people suspected of being here illegally that it would overwhelm the federal government and divert attention from federal priorities, catching criminals and potential terrorists. She also said it would mean widespread detention for people who are here legally, including US citizens, while their immigration status was checked. So the judge concluded that the Arizona law would interfere with federal immigration law , which the states are not allowed to do. Now, her ruling did note that 18 other states are considering following Arizona 's lead, and she said that would burden the federal government even more. So now the state can go to the federal court of appeals in California and try to get this hold lifted. And if that doesn't work, of course, Arizona could try to get the US Supreme Court involved, but that could take several months at least, Brian .

B. WILLIAMS: OK, Pete Williams rounding out our coverage for now from our Washington newsroom. Pete , thanks.