PHOENIX - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal of a blocked provision of Arizona's 2010 immigration enforcement law, dealing another blow to Gov. Jan Brewer in her effort to defend the law.
The court declined to review the ruling that barred police from arresting people who harbor those living in the United States illegally. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked police from enforcing the prohibition, concluding last year that it was vague and trumped by federal law, which already forbids harboring people in the country unlawfully.
The harboring ban is among a handful of provisions in the law known as Senate Bill 1070 that the courts have struck down.
"It's another indicator that Arizona is fighting a losing battle legally and politically," Karen Tumlin, an attorney representing civil rights groups challenging the law, said of Monday's denial.
Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said the governor is disappointed that the Supreme Court didn't take up her appeal, calling it another blow to the state's power to ensure the public's safety.
"Arizona's ability to combat the criminal elements of illegal immigration in our own state is further eroded," Wilder said.
While the Supreme Court has upheld one of the law's most controversial provisions, the courts have either struck down or blocked enforcement of other sections, such as a requirement that immigrants carry registration papers and a prohibition on people who are in the country illegally from seeking work in public places.
The court affirmed the requirement that officers, while enforcing other laws, question the immigration status of those suspected of being in the country illegally, a provision that largely overshadowed the harboring ban.
The ban was in effect for a two-year period ending in September 2012. Two weeks before shelving it, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton said no arrests had been made under that section of the law.
Two challenges to the 2010 immigration law remain alive in federal court. No trial date has been set in either case.
Wednesday marks the four-year anniversary since Brewer signed the measure into law.