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An Arizona police officer and a Latino group filed the first legal challenges of Arizona's sweeping new law cracking down on illegal immigration Thursday.
Fifteen-year Tucson police veteran Martin Escobar argues there's no way for officers to confirm people's immigration status without impeding investigations. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tucson, alleges the new immigration law violates numerous constitutional rights and could hinder police investigations.
A Latino Clergy group also sued Thursday in federal court in Phoenix. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders will seek an injunction preventing authorities from enforcing the law.
The group argues federal law pre-empts state regulation of national borders, and that Arizona's law violates due process rights by letting police detain suspected illegal immigrants before they're convicted.
On Wednesday, a group filed papers to launch a referendum drive that could put the law on hold until 2012, when voters could decide whether it is repealed.
The legislation's chief sponsor, Republican Rep. Russell Pearce, said he has no doubt voters will support the new law at the ballot box, which would then protect it from repeal by the Legislature. In Arizona, measures approved by voters can only be repealed at the ballot box.
At least three Arizona cities — Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson — also are considering lawsuits to block the law.
__________________ "The blade itself incites to deeds of violence."
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