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Critics say Utah's Immigration Bill is Unconstitutional

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utah's controversial immigration law played out in U.S. District Court Friday.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utah's controversial immigration law played out in U.S. District Court Friday.

Attorneys were using the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on a similar law in Arizona as a guide for their arguments.

House Bill 497 was enacted by the state legislature in 2011, but a judge quickly blocked it after several groups sued. The law would allow police to check citizenship of anyone arrested for serious crimes and ask for documentation for less crimes like a traffic violation.

The ACLU argues it could lead to racial profiling.

“We want to find a way for people to live together in community without having to worry about police harassment and about being singled out because of the color of their skin,” said Cecilia Wang, ACLU.

Phil Lott, Utah's Assistant Attorney General, said that is not the intent of the statute. “It's not a situation where the state is going to be going door to door looking for illegal immigrants,” said Lott. “The illegal immigrants the state is interested in prosecuting are the illegal immigrants committing crimes in Utah.”

Lott said U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups could make a decision within a month.
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