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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Supreme Court strikes down parts of AZ immigration law, but not 'show me your papers' provision

25

June

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning struck down key parts of Arizona's controversial immigration law, contending the federal government has authority over immigration policy.

But the court let stand a provision requiring police to check the immigration status of someone they suspect may be in the U.S. illegally. The AP reports, however, that the court "took the teeth out of the provision by prohibiting police officers from arresting people on minor immigration charges."

The ruling is here. Below, Florida reaction.

The decision could end efforts in Florida to pass a similar law, though that faded a year ago. Even Gov. Rick Scott has backed off his campaign promises, saying last week that he thinks immigration should be dealt with at a federal level. That's what Sen. Marco Rubio has long said.

Reaction:

Sen. Marco Rubio: "Today’s decision on Arizona’s immigration law is a reminder of Washington’s failure to fix our broken immigration system.  If the federal government would do its job and address this issue, states like Arizona would not be compelled to address the violence and lawlessness stemming from the federal government’s dereliction of duty with respect to maintaining the sovereignty of our borders.
 
While I maintain that states do have a constitutional right to pass laws to address public safety issues in their communities, I nonetheless believe the best way to solve the immigration issue is at the federal level.  Rather than have states enact their own unique immigration laws – and then spend precious time and taxpayer money litigating these matters – Washington should act legislatively to secure our border, implement a workable employment verification system, modernize our antiquated visa system, and responsibly address the situation faced by a limited number of young people who were brought here by their parents as children and now find themselves without any legal status in the United States."

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar: “I am pleased that the Court struck down three of the four provisions at stake in this divisive law.  While our nation’s immigration system is in desperate need of reform, enacting patchwork policies that conflict with existing federal laws and Constitutional rights is not the solution.  I was disappointed, however, to see the Court uphold one of the law’s most controversial provisions, requiring law enforcement officials to check the status of persons that they arrest if they suspect them of being in the country illegally.  This provision sets a dangerous precedent for profiling and discrimination throughout the nation. While we do need to address the illegal immigration problems in our country, directing law enforcement officials to become involved in immigration issues may lead to a rift between legal immigrant populations and communities and local and state law enforcement. This rift could hinder their ability to investigate dangerous criminal activity.  The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are already properly trained and in a better position than local and state officers when it comes to involvement in these complex immigration matters. As such, I will continue to work in Congress to address our nation’s immigration issues in a comprehensive manner, which does not promote discriminatory policies.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston: “I supported the Obama Administration’s decision to question the constitutionality of this law, and I’m pleased that the Supreme Court struck down most of the ill-conceived provisions within this law. However, I am concerned that the "show me your papers" provision was upheld. We must pursue a comprehensive immigration policy so that no American has to live in fear because of their heritage, their last name, or the color of their skin. This ruling underscores the need for a comprehensive immigration policy that works for all states and all Americans, without compromising our values or undermining the basic civil rights and freedoms we have as Americans. As a Member of Congress, representing a diverse and vibrant population in South Florida, I know that our country deserves better. I look forward to working with my fellow Members of Congress and the President toward comprehensive immigration reform so that all Americans can prosper in a free and secure nation.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami: “Today’s ruling was an affirmation of separation of powers and federalism from the nation’s highest court. While states enjoy great freedom to govern their own affairs, federal law is the ultimate arbiter. This decision underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform that reflects the fact that we are both a nation of laws and of immigrants. It is my sincere hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will take this ruling as the impetus needed to accomplish true immigration reform.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 1:35pm]

    

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