It didn’t come as much of a surprise to the legal community when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government has the sole power to enforce the laws against illegal immigration. The High Court struck down three key provisions of Arizona’s first-in-the nation law designed to literally run all undocumented residents out of that state. The Justices did allow for state officials to begin enforcing a provision in Arizona that calls on police, when making lawful stops, to check the immigration status of people who may be in the country illegally. While that’s not a bad thing, these status checks cannot “result in prolonged detention,” according to the Court. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, said: “Federal law makes a single sovereign responsible for maintaining a comprehensive and unified system to keep track of aliens within the nation’s borders.”
The opinion said that if Arizona could arrest and hold immigrants for not carrying papers, “every state could give itself independent authority to prosecute federal registration violations.” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor joined with Justice Kennedy in this opinion that gives states little new authority to enforce immigration law on their own.
The Obama Administration went to court and argued these state laws conflicted with the federal government’s power to enforce the nation’s immigration laws. Previously, a federal judge in Phoenix and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had blocked four key parts of Arizona’s law from going into effect. All other states with laws like Arizona’s have absolutely no chance of having their laws upheld.
Source: Los Angeles Times
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