A Utah federal judge has requested written arguments on Utah's enforcement-only immigration law now that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Arizona can require police to check the legal status of people during any lawful stop.
U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups had been waiting for the high court's decision to determine how it would impact HB497, Utah's version of the Arizona law signed by Gov. Gary Herbert in March 2011.
Waddoups on Thursday ordered Justice Department lawyers and attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah and the National Immigration Law Center to file written arguments by July 20.
The Utah Attorney General's Office must file responses by Aug. 17. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out three provisions in Arizona's law, including attempts to make it a state crime for an illegal immigrant to search for employment, to require people to carry papers proving a right to be in the country and to give police the power to arrest, without warrant, a suspected illegal immigrant.
But it upheld the provision that requires police to inquire about suspects' legal status during any lawful stop. Utah's attorney general has argued HB497 is more narrow than Arizona's law by only requiring police to check legal status upon arrest or detainment for suspected felonies and class A misdemeanors. For lesser crimes, local police are given broad discretion to check legal status.
But ACLU lawyers say the Supreme Court's ruling leaves the Utah law legally vulnerable on a number of fronts, including a provision that makes it a felony to induce an illegal immigrant to come to the state.
The judge indicated he would schedule oral arguments after the August deadline.