Arizona Limits Police Actions in Enforcing Immigration Law

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PHOENIX — Arizona’s attorney general on Thursday detailed limits on the authority of state and local agencies to enforce immigration laws, ending a six-year fight over a state law that gave local authorities broad powers to detain anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally.

In a nonbinding opinion filed in Federal District Court here, the attorney general, Mark Brnovich, recommended specific limits on the actions of state and local police officers: They are permitted to ask about immigration status during a traffic stop or criminal investigation, but they may not extend a stop, detention or arrest simply to verify a person’s immigration status.

“Maybe this should have been done years ago,” Mr. Brnovich said in an interview. “Some folks look for answers, others look for fights. I think in this situation, we’re ready for answers.”

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