Supreme Court permits AZ to ask for papers

Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in News

Supreme Court permits AZ to ask for papers

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Although much of the Arizona immigration law was knocked down by the Supreme Court this week, one controversial provision, which is referred to as the "your papers please" provision, will continue to allow police to ask for proof of citizenship from people stopped for any reason.  Critics say that this provision will lead inevitably to racial profiling.

In the worst case scenario, a person who is the victim of a violent crime could be held in jail if his or her wallet was taken and he or she does not have proof of citizenship.  The Arizona law permits the state to hold the person until the papers are produced or the person is deported.

Maine law does not permit people to be randomly asked for proof of citizenship.

However, the justices also struck down provisions in the Arizona law that created state crimes allowing local police to arrest people for federal immigration violations. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, "Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law." In the majority opinion, the court also warned Arizona against incarcerating people for extended periods of time for not having immigration papers immediately available.

A divided court struck down these three major 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.

* Allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.

Obama responded to the Arizona ruling with a mixture of relief and concern, and enjoined Congress to act on immigration reform.

"No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like," the president said in a written statement. He said police in Arizona should not enforce the provision in a way that undermines civil rights.

In other court action on Monday, the high court:

* Ruled unconstitutional by a 5-4 vote state laws that require judges to impose sentences of life in prison with no possibility of parole on convicted murderers younger than 18.

* Struck down, also 5-4, a Montana law limiting corporate campaign spending, declining to revisit the two-year-old ruling in the Citizens United case.

The Court is expected to rule on the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.

blog comments powered by Disqus