Supreme Court strikes down most of Arizona crackdown on illegal immigrants

June 25, 2012

The Associated Press and City Room


Updated Monday June 25 at 10:07 a.m.

The Supreme Court struck down key provisions of Arizona's crackdown on immigrants Monday but said a much-debated portion on checking suspects' status could go forward.

The court did not throw out the state provision requiring police to check the immigration status of someone they suspect is not in the United States legally. Even there, though, the justices said the provision could be subject to additional legal challenges.

The decision upholds the "show me your papers" requirement for the moment. But it takes the teeth out of it by prohibiting police officers from arresting people on minor immigration charges.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez called in to Eight Forty-Eight the morning after the Supreme Court announced its decision on Arizona to discuss the implications for Illinois.

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.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion for the court that was unanimous on allowing the status check to go forward. The court was divided on striking down the other portions.

The court struck down these provisions: requiring all immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers, making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job and allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.

The Obama administration sued to block the Arizona law soon after its enactment two years ago. Federal courts had refused to let the four key provisions take effect.

Illinois Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin was quick to criticize the justices' decision.

"Well, I don't like it. I wish they'd struck - struck the whole law, to be honest with you," Durbin said. "But it could have been worse. And with this Supreme Court, I guess it's a good day."

Five states — Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah — have adopted variations on Arizona's law. Parts of those laws also are on hold pending the outcome of theSupreme Court case.

Updates to follow. 

Supreme Court Ruling on Immigration