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The judge who will decide whether Arizona’s new immigration law is constitutional hasn’t indicated whether she’ll put the statute on hold before it takes effect next week and had some pointed questions Thursday for challengers at two court hearings.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton also went beyond dry legal analysis to point out some of the everyday realities of illegal immigration and how that applies to the new law.

Without prodding from attorneys, the judge noted that the federal government erected signs in a wilderness area south of Phoenix that warn visitors about immigrant and drug smugglers passing through public lands. She said the stash houses where smugglers hide immigrants from Mexico before bringing them into the country’s interior have become a fixture on the news in Arizona.

“You can barely go a day without a location being found in Phoenix where there are numerous people being harbored,” said Bolton, who didn’t issue a ruling after the two hearings.

Bolton has been asked to block the law from taking effect as she hears seven lawsuits by the U.S. Department of Justice, civil rights groups and others that question the constitutionality of the measure, which has reignited the national immigration debate.

Source: Jacques Billeaud and Paul Davenport for AP News.

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