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Supreme Court strikes down majority of Arizona law

Earlier this week the Supreme Court decision many interested in the immigration field have been waiting for was announced. The case, Arizona v. United States, concerns Arizona's immigration law titled S.B. 1070.

Among other things, the state law required individuals over the age of 14 who are from other countries to complete and continuously keep with them registration papers. Also included in the law is what is known as the "show me your papers" provision that says during the course of a lawful traffic stop, law enforcement must attempt to determine the immigration status of anyone suspected to be in the country without authorization.

In a split decision, a majority of the provisions of the law were struck down because they step outside of the rights of a state and into areas controlled by the federal government. Included in those that were blocked were portions of the law that would leave undocumented immigrants looking for work, subject to criminal penalties. In addition, police will not be able to arrest an individual without a warrant, even if they have reason to believe the individual has committed what are considered to be deportable acts.

All of the justices agreed that law enforcement would be able to continue to check the papers of individuals pulled over in legitimate traffic stops.

As we mentioned in a previous post, the outcome of this case is highly relevant to other states that have passed similar laws. Georgia and Alabama are two of the states that have done so. Challenges of those states' laws had been stayed pending the decision of the Supreme Court but will likely now be addressed.

Source: New York Times, "Blocking Parts of Arizona Law, Justices Allow Its Centerpiece" Adam Liptak, June 25, 2012

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