This is an archived article that was published on in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A federal court judge Monday ordered two lawsuits filed against Utah's enforcement-only immigration law to be combined and set a hearing for Feb. 17 — a time frame that had been opposed by Utah's attorney general.

U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups issued the order after Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's office took issue with Justice Department lawyers who sought an extension after they swooped in late last week to file suit against HB497.

The hearing on the first lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah and the National Immigration Law Center, was originally scheduled for this Friday. Both entities filed on behalf of the Utah Coalition of La Raza and a series of individual plaintiffs.

The brief filed by Shurtleff said the state opposed a "protracted schedule" for the hearing and noted that because of previous meetings between Shurtleff and Justice Department lawyers, they've known about the case for about six months.

"The United States had ample time to file its claims so that they could be heard on Dec. 2, 2011, as currently scheduled, but failed to do so," the brief says.

Shurtleff's office asked the court to consider a schedule that would allow a hearing in late January instead.

"[We're] disappointed the judge did not expedite the hearing," Shurtleff said. "We are confident the court will deny both the DOJ's and La Raza's motions for preliminary injunctions."

But Waddoups set a timetable consistent with the federal government's requests.

The law, which is suspended under a temporary restraining order, was sponsored by Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, and requires people arrested for felonies or class A misdemeanors to have their citizenship checked. It also gives local law enforcement the option to check legal status for less serious offenses.

Gov. Gary Herbert signed it on March 15 along with three other immigration-related measures.

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