SALT LAKE CITY -- A federal judge on Tuesday blocked a new Utah immigration law that would have allowed police to check the citizenship status of anyone they arrest.
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups issued his ruling in Salt Lake City hours after the law went into effect, citing its similarity to an Arizona law currently before federal courts.
The American Civil Liberties Union and National Immigration Law Center had sued to stop the law, warning its implementation could lead to racial profiling.
Utah Assistant Attorney General Jerrold Jansen said the ruling was "not a surprise."
Jansen said after the hearing that the law is "fully constitutional" and that his office plans to "argue it vigorously."
The next hearing on the matter is set for July 14.
The law, signed by Republican Gov. Gary Herbert in March, would require police to check the citizenship status of anyone arrested on suspicion of a felony or class-A misdemeanor, while giving officers discretion to check the citizenship of those stopped for traffic infractions and other lesser offenses.
Class A misdemeanors include theft, negligent homicide and criminal mischief, while felonies range from aggravated burglary to rape and murder.
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