This morning the U.S. Supreme Court (USSC) issued a mixed verdict on Arizona's controversial SB 1070 immigration law.
The majority of the high court voted to uphold one of the key provisions of the law that permits police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop. In doing so, the USSC rejected the stance that only the U.S. federal government can enforce immigration laws.
Yet the judges also struck down parts of SB 1070 that they viewed as an intrusion into federal law. The court rejected the following three sections:
- obligating all immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers;
- making it a state criminal offense for an undocumented immigrant to seek work or hold a job; and
- allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.
Among the reactions to the court's ruling was that of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a proponent of SB 1070, who claimed that the decision represented "a victory for the rule of law." Meanwhile Dulce Matuz, president of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, said "We feel relieved that at least the Supreme Court ruling will have less of an impact on immigrant youth than a week ago.
The Solomonic decision by the USSC will likely not quell the debate over immigration that has become a hot topic this month in the race for the presidency. On June 15th President Barack Obama announced a plan to grant some young undocumented immigrants immunity from deportation and temporary work permits. Last week both Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney discussed immigration at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference.
Update: Both Obama and Romney issued statements in the aftermath of the court's verdict.
“What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform,” the president said. Yet he also expressed his concern “about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally.”
"Today's decision underscores the need for a president who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy," said Romney who also accused Obama of "breaking his promise" on immigration reform.
Meanwhile a recently released poll found that Latino voters in five battleground states believe that the ruling on SB 1070 could contribute to an “anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic environment” in the U.S.
“Even though the Arizona law claims to only target undocumented immigrants, the survey results show that a clear majority of US citizen Latinos who are registered to vote are also concerned about the implications of the law being upheld,” according to Latino Decisions/America's Voice.
Online Sources (including Update) - The Guardian, Christian Science Monitor, ABC15.com, MSNBC, KVOA .com, Christian Science Monitor
Video Source - YouTube via Associated Press