12/22/2011 01:45 pm ET

South Carolina Immigration Law: Judge Grants Partial Preliminary Injunction

(Reuters) - South Carolina cannot enforce several key areas of its new law aimed at curbing illegal immigration, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

The law is set to take effect on January 1.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel granted a preliminary injunction, ruling that the federal government has exclusive constitutional authority to regulate immigration and the state's law would disrupt federal enforcement operations.

The U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of civil rights groups had sued to block parts of the law from going into effect.

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