Court Hearing Planned For Utah's Immigration Law

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A federal judge in Salt Lake City will hear arguments about the constitutionality of Utah's immigration enforcement law.

U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups will use the hearing today to decide whether to issue a permanent injunction against the law or allow it to go into effect. Waddoups put the law on hold in May.

Justice Department lawyers and civil rights groups say the law usurps federal authority and violates people's civil rights.

Utah attorneys contend the law created by House Bill 497 is constitutional because police cannot check the citizenship status of everyone they encounter.

The law requires people arrested for serious crimes to prove their citizenship but gives police discretion whether to check citizenship for lesser crimes. It was signed by Gov. Gary Herbert in March.