PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer filed an appeal Wednesday with the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that put on hold key parts of the state's immigration enforcement law.
The appeal comes as Brewer faced a deadline for contesting a district court's decision that, among other things, barred police from enforcing a requirement that police while enforcing other laws to question the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally.
Brewer lost her first appeal in April when a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected her request to overturn the decision. The nation's highest court has discretion on whether to hear her appeal.
Her lawyers ask the court to hear her appeal and argued that Arizona bears the brunt of America's border problems and that the 9th Circuit's decision conflicts with Supreme Court precedents.
"For too long the federal government has turned a blind eye as this problem has manifested itself in the form of drop houses in our neighborhoods and crime in our communities," Brewer said in a written statement. "(The law) was Arizona's way of saying that we won't wait patiently for federal action any longer. If the federal government won't enforce its immigration laws, we will."
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The federal government, which sued Arizona in a bid to invalidate the law, has argued the law intrudes on its exclusive authority to regulate immigration, disrupts relations between the U.S. and Mexico, hinders cooperation between state and federal officials and burdens legal immigrants.
Less than a day before the law was to take effect in July 2010, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked key provisions from going into effect, including also a requirement that immigrants get and carry registration papers.
But Bolton allowed other parts, such as a ban on obstructing traffic while seeking or offering day-labor services on streets.
The law was passed in April 2010 amid years of complaints that the federal government hasn't done enough to assist Arizona, the nation's busiest illegal entry point, with border security. The legislation inspired protests, led to lawsuits seeking to overturn the law and a debate about whether the law would lead to racial profiling.