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Supreme Court rules on controversial immigration law

The past couple weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for immigration policy in the United States. As we reported last week, President Obama recently announced that his administration would halt deportations of undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children and meet certain other criteria. Instead, they will have the opportunity to apply for work permits.

Then, on Monday the United States Supreme Court announced its ruling on the controversial immigration laws that were adopted by Arizona lawmakers in 2010. The nation's highest court struck down three of the four provisions that were being challenged by the federal government and human rights groups.

The sections that were struck down include the provision making it a state crime for undocumented immigrations to reside in Arizona or seek employment there. Additionally, the provision giving state police the power to arrest individuals who are believed to be in the country illegally was also struck down.

But a section of the law known as the "show me your papers" provision was upheld. This provision directs law enforcement officials in Arizona to check for the immigration status of people they think could be in the country illegally during any traffic stop or arrest. Human rights groups argue that the provision will lead to racial profiling.

The Court did say that only a narrow interpretation of the provision is acceptable under the law. The Chief Justice wrote that police only have the power to check for immigration status during the regular course of the traffic stop or arrest. In other words, if checking for immigration status would mean that the person would be detained for a longer period of time, it's likely invalid.

Finally, the Chief Justice noted that the provision was valid "absent some showing that it has other consequences that are adverse to federal law and its objectives." This means lawsuits attempting to show that the provision leads to racial profiling are likely. The American Civil Liabilities Union has said it has already amassed a fund of $8.7 million to file as many of these lawsuits as possible.

Source: Fox News Latino, "Arizona Immigration Ruling Gives Both Sides Something to Crow, and Cry, About," Roque Planas, June 26, 2012

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