Monday, June 25, 2012
US Supreme court weakens bite of SB 1070: racial profiling still probable
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court threw out key provisions of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants Monday but said a much-debated portion could go forward — that police must check the status of people stopped for various reasons who might appear to be in the U.S. illegally.
The court upheld the "show me your papers" requirement, but even there the justices said the provision could be subject to additional legal challenges. And they removed some teeth by prohibiting officers from arresting people on immigration charges.
The Obama administration had assailed the Arizona law as an unconstitutional intrusion into an area under Washington's control, and the court struck down provisions that would have made state crimes out of federal immigration violations.
But several lawmakers and civil rights groups said the part of the law left in place by the high court was an invitation to racial profiling.
The court announced that Thursday would be the last day of rulings this term, which means the decision on President Barack Obama's landmark health care overhaul probably will come that day.
The Arizona decision landed in the middle of a presidential campaign in which Obama has been heavily courting Latino voters and Republican challenger Mitt Romney has been struggling to win Latino support. During a drawn-out primary campaign, Romney and the other GOP candidates mostly embraced a hard line on illegal immigrants, though Romney has lately taken a softer tone.
Obama said he was pleased that the court struck down key parts of Arizona's law but concerned about what the high court left intact.
"No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like," the president said in a written statement. He said police in Arizona should not enforce the provision in a way that undermines civil rights