Proposition 200 opponents on Thursday lost a key appeal to a court in San Francisco but vowed to continue fighting the measure regarding undocumented immigrants.
A federal appeals court panel shot down an emergency motion by a civil rights group to block implementation of some provisions of Proposition 200. The measure, approved by Arizona voters in November, denies public-welfare benefits to undocumented immigrants.
Two judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the injunction request from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund but did not rule on the case’s merits. The decision does not apply to Proposition 200’s voting provisions, which require voters to prove citizenship when registering.
Proposition 200 requires state and local employees to confirm and report the immigration status of people applying for public benefits. Employees must turn undocumented immigrants in to immigration authorities or face prosecution, up to four months in jail and a $750 fine.
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has said Proposition 200 applies to only five programs that provide eyesight services and help with utility repairs, among other public services.
Proposition 200 proponents have a lawsuit pending that would expand Goddard’s definition to include considerably more services. They will return to Maricopa County Superior Court in Mesa on Jan. 27.