Arizona’s illegal immigration crackdown got a little weaker Monday, but a controversial part of the state’s law will remain in place, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.
Today the high court unanimously upheld the "show me your papers" requirement that police check suspects' immigration status.
However, the justices were divided on other portions of Arizona’s law and subsequently struck down three major provisions of it including: requiring all immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers; making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job; and allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.
The Associated Press reported today that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said “the ruling marked a victory for people who believe in the responsibility of states to defend their residents.” The case, she said, "has always been about our support for the rule of law. That means every law, including those against both illegal immigration and racial profiling. Law enforcement will be held accountable should this statute be misused in a fashion that violates an individual's civil rights."
Civil rights groups that separately challenged Arizona’s law over concerns it would lead to rights’ abuses said their lawsuit would go on.
The immigration status check still is "an invitation to racial profiling," American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Omar Jadwat told The Associated Press.
The Obama administration sued to block Arizona’s law soon after its enactment two years ago, and federal courts had refused to let the four key provisions take effect.
The Arizona case focused on whether states can adopt their own measures to deal with an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the face of federal inaction on comprehensive reform, or whether the federal government has almost exclusive authority in that area.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, "Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”