PHOENIX - Opponents of Arizona's immigration crackdown went ahead with protests Thursday despite a judge's ruling that delayed enforcement of most the law , and more than 50 people were arrested in various parts of downtown Phoenix.
Gov. Jan Brewer called U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton's Wednesday's decision halting the law " a bump in the road ," and her spokesman said they'd appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco later Thursday.
Outside the state Capitol, hundreds of protesters began marching at dawn , gathering in front of the federal courthouse where Bolton issued her ruling on Wednesday. They marched on to the office of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has made a crackdown on illegal immigration one of his signature issues.
At least eight protesters approached a police line and allowed themselves to be arrested. A group of about two dozen protesters then sat down in the middle of the street or refused to leave, and police arrested them as well.
Earlier, three people were detained at the courthouse after apparently entering a closed-off area. Former state Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2002, was among them.
Marchers chanted "Sheriff Joe, we are here, we will not live in fear," and among the crowd was a drummer wearing a papier-mache Sheriff Joe head and dressed in prison garb.
Arpaio pushed back the start time for a crime sweep targeting illegal immigrants. At least 32 more people protesting Arizona's new immigration law were arrested outside the Maricopa County jail
in downtown Phoenix, after some of them handcuffed themselves to the jail with PVC pipe and cord.
"My deputies will arrest them and put them in pink underwear," Arpaio said, referring to one of his odd methods of punishment for prisoners. "Count on it."
Arizona is the nation's epicenter of illegal immigration, with more than 400,000 undocumented residents. The state's border with Mexico is awash with smugglers and drugs that funnel narcotics and immigrants throughout the U.S., and supporters of the new law say the influx of illegal migrants drains vast sums of money from hospitals, education and other services.
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