The Supreme Court struck down much of the Arizona’s controversial immigration law today while upholding one key part. The Court upheld the part of the law that requires police officers to check the immigration status of people that officers suspect could be in the country illegally. The remaining three parts were struck down by the Court, which are: the part that makes it a crime for an immigrant to look for work without a work permit, the part that makes it a crime for an immigrant not to carry immigration documents, and the part that allows police to arrest those they believe have committed an offense that renders that person removable from the United States.
The Court said those three provisions violate the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution because states cannot regulate conduct in an area where Congress has said it has exclusive governance to regulate and because state laws cannot conflict with federal laws. The Court said that the federal government’s power to decide immigration policy is well settled, and the court noted that the U.S. Government has broad, undoubted power over the subject of immigration.
The most controversial part of the law arguably is the provision that gives Arizona police officers the authority to arrest people if officers have probable cause to believe they committed an offense that makes them removable. The Court said that Arizona police would not have authority to make an arrest under that provision because being removable is generally not a crime according to federal law.
Although the Court struck down most of the law, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called the decision a “victory for the rule of law” and said that the state would move to enforce the new law. She also said that law enforcement will be held responsible if the new law is misused in a way that violates a person’s civil rights. Click here to read the Supreme Court’s entire decision…