Arizona to appeal ruling that tossed immigrant smuggling law

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona plans to appeal a court ruling that bars authorities from enforcing the state's 2005 immigrant smuggling law - once a powerful tool for local authorities to confront illegal immigration.

The state's lawyers informed U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on Tuesday of their plans to appeal her November decision, which concluded that the state law is trumped by federal statutes.

Bolton struck it down as part of the Obama administration's challenge of the state's landmark 2010 immigration enforcement law, which made a minor change to the 2005 smuggling statute. The dispute over the smuggling law is all that remains of the federal government's challenge of the 2010 law known as Senate Bill 1070.

The filing by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich's office signals that the state won't back off former Gov. Jan Brewer's aggressive defense of SB 1070.

The state's attorneys contend the smuggling law doesn't conflict with federal law. It is among a string of Arizona immigration statutes that have been thrown out by the courts.

Lawmakers passed the smuggling law in response to voter frustration over the state's position as the nation's then-busiest immigrant smuggling hub. It marked Arizona's second major immigration law and was followed by the sweeping 2010 legislation.

The smuggling law had been used frequently in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's trademark immigration efforts and inspired the sheriff to establish a squad devoted to cracking down on immigrant smuggling.

Another federal judge ruled in May 2013 that Arpaio's office had systematically racially profiled Latinos in regular traffic and immigration patrols. The sheriff vigorously denies profiling suspects.