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Arizona immigration law SB 1070 - Judge blocks some sections

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said she would appeal a judge's ruling blocking key parts of a new state immigration law.

"This is an enormous victory for civil liberties in Arizona," she said.

Hannah August, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said lawyers believe the court "ruled correctly" and added: "This administration takes its responsibility to secure our borders seriously and has dedicated unprecedented resources to that effort."

Her message was echoed at the Department of Homeland Security, where spokesman Matt Chandler vowed to increase resources in Arizona, with about 500 National Guard troops set to arrive Sunday along with hundreds of additional U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

The White House has sought to remain at arm's length from the Arizona case, despite President Obama's public statements against the law. The president did not mention the ruling in remarks Wednesday afternoon.

But the White House recognizes the power of the immigration debate in elections this fall as Republicans use anger over border crossings to energize conservative turnout. Senior Democrats have said they are hoping that anti-immigration sentiment drives Latino voters to the Democratic Party in 2012 and beyond.

In her 36-page ruling, Bolton indicated that she understands why Arizona passed the law, which Brewer signed in April. "The Court by no means disregards Arizona's interests in controlling illegal immigration," the judge wrote. But she accepted the administration's arguments that sections of the law target immigrants, impose a burden on federal law enforcement and are "preempted" by federal law.

The expected increase in requests for immigration status checks by Arizona authorities would "divert resources from the federal government's other responsibilities and priorities," wrote Bolton, who allowed other portions of the law to stand, including requiring police to work with federal officials in enforcing immigration laws.

Staff writer Michael D. Shear contributed to this report.

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