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The parties fighting in federal court over the Utah Legislature's 2011 attempt to crack down on illegal immigration are circulating a proposed agreement to end the lawsuit an action that would leave in place a judge's order that's already "gutted" the law.
In a court filing Friday, the sides battling over what detractors dubbed the "show me your papers" law approved by the 2011 Legislature said they have been circulating drafts of a proposed final judgment but need at least through Nov. 25 to reach an agreement.
The lawsuit was filed in May of 2011 on behalf of the Utah Coalition of La Raza, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, Centro Civico Mexicano, several individuals and other organizations. The federal government joined them when a separate suit it had brought over the same law was consolidated with theirs.
Leah Farrell, staff attorney for the ACLU of Utah, said she couldn't discuss details of the proposed final judgment.
"But I can say yes, we do feel are close in our ongoing conversations with the defendants and the other party, which is the United States," Farrell said.
In June, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups granted a partial request for a preliminary injunction that, in effect, stopped enforcement of a major part of the law.
Waddoups stopped enforcement of a provision that required police to verify the immigration status of anyone arrested for a serious crime. The ruling said that police cannot prolong a traffic stop or detention merely to check a person's immigration status.
He also halted enforcement of other parts of the law that interfere with the federal government's supremacy in making and enforcing immigration law.
They included a provision that allowed a warrantless arrest based only on suspicion of illegal immigration status, saying it "seeks to bestow on state officers greater discretion and authority than that possessed by federal immigration officials."
He also rejected other provisions that allowed a warrantless arrest based only on suspicion of illegal immigration status, that made it a crime to entice someone to enter the country illegally or to harbor undocumented immigrants and that required cities and counties to cooperate with any efforts toward alien registration.
Farrell said the ruling "substantially gutted HB497."
The decision "went far to protect our community from the overreach of policing and detention," she said.
Jennifer Mayer-Glenn, the new presiden of the Utah Coalition of La Raza, referred questions to the ACLU.
The Utah Attorney General's 0ffice on Friday confirmed a deal is close but declined to comment further.