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Supreme Court Reins In Ariz. Immigration Law

June 25, 2012  | 

Photo: POLICE file
Photo: POLICE file

The U.S. Supreme Court gave ammunition to supporters and detractors of Arizona's tough immigration law, which was left partially intact by a ruling that's not likely to be the final word on the subject.

The court on Monday let stand SB 1070's "show me your papers provision" that allows officers to ask check the immigration status of subjects during a legal detention, said Devallis Rutledge, a veteran prosecutor who writes POLICE Magazine's "Point of Law" column.

Rutledge, who will expand on the ruling in the August issue of POLICE Magazine, said Monday's ruling doesn't change much for patrol officers. Two earlier court decisions—INS v. Delgado (1984) and Muehler v. Mena (2005)—already gave officers the right to check immigration status during a lawful detention.

"For enforcement officers, it really doesn't change anything," Rutledge told POLICE. "As long as we've lawfully got them stopped, it's no additional burden on their Fourth Amendment rights to ask about their immigration status."

However, the court in a 5-3 decision did strike down three of the law's tougher provisions, overturning sections that would have criminalized the failure to carry federal registration documents, penalized aliens who engage in unauthorized employment, and allow warrantless arrests of suspected undocumented aliens.

In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy said federal law prevents these provisions from being enforced by Arizona.

"The national government has significant power to regulate immigration," Justice 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."


Immigration Checks

Comments (11)

Displaying 1 - 11 of 11

Dan the Man @ 6/25/2012 4:41 PM

I just heard that Mark Levin, a Constitutional Attorney, and Conservative Radio Talk Commentator say's that the supreme court's decision and the recent policy actions by the president and the department homeland security, have "opened the borders" for a tremendous surge in illegal immigration via the Arizona borders. It is expected that this illegal immigrations surge could number in the millions. My point being is that this will negatively impact many middle class Americans that are looking for jobs to feed their families and keep their homes.

Dan the Man @ 6/25/2012 5:01 PM

For those who have access to a computer, here is the link (radio station WJNO)) site to listen to the "facts" on my earlier comment.

Leonard Mather @ 6/25/2012 5:32 PM

Dan the Man quotes Levin with...."surge could number in the millions." That supposition is in the same category as "Jesus coming as a thief in the night leading to the End of the World." The fact that both parties are claiming the decision as a victory is ample clue that immigration will continue at about the same pace as it had before. The perpetual constant is that Arizona faces and handles the Purgatory of its location and the feckless features in Federal Law handicapping good police work.

Don @ 6/25/2012 5:50 PM

The Feds already said that they would no longer respond to local law enforcement calls to locations where illegal aliens have been stopped. Only in Arizona. How about that for segregating the state from Federal support.

Ray @ 6/25/2012 6:59 PM

@Don The feds also took away Arizona's 287g privileges today as well as not responding to local Law Enforcement except by phone.

Dan the Man @ 6/25/2012 7:16 PM

Amazing and very intellectual come back, L.M; "Jesus coming as a thief in the night leading to the End of the World. The fact that both parties are claiming the decision as a victory is ample clue that immigration will continue at about the same pace as it had before." My advice would be "Get the Facts" (what a concept), before feebly trying to dismiss fact based comments with half-baked "come-back" comments. While your at it, read your oath of office (if you are a law enforcement officer). It is basically an extended version of our presidents oath of office. It is detailed in the"US Constitution, Article II, Section 1 - "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
That means that our "Commander in Chief" and all his Lieutenants MUST enforce the laws detailed in the Constitution which includes immigration law... Peace..Out.

Frank @ 6/25/2012 7:41 PM

@Dan the man. Your correct however this President and his Administration does give a rats a** about our Constitution, 2nd Amendment rights or anything else. The King will rule his way the only way! He is doing anything to get 4 more years. He operates like a person who has a addiction.

Tom Ret @ 6/25/2012 9:31 PM

The Border Patrol union wants Holder to resign. They have a pretty good
perspective on how things are going on the border. They obviously have no confidence in Holder and company doing their job.

[email protected] @ 6/25/2012 10:05 PM

Golly gee whiz! The feds don't want to pick up ILLEGAL TRESPASSERS.
You know, that used to be a federal offense before king obuma ruled the earth. Sorry guys, but my sworn oath to protect my country had no expiration date. Damn shame nobody else remembers the reason for the uniform or the badge.

FireCop @ 6/26/2012 6:40 AM

Two issues are to be hilighted here. First, the states have rights that extend beyond that of Washington. This ruling by the US Supreme Court removes some of those rights. Second is, as soon as this ruling came down Homeland Security issued a directive stopping their cooperative efforts working with Arizona on the border. This all smacks of corrupt politics at its best (worst?). If you want improvement, hold your elected officials to the burner and get out and vote this November. Be safe.

Frank @ 6/26/2012 10:14 AM

Why bother enforcing any laws if this is going to be a Pick and Chose your law to enforce society directed by our "Gone Astray Feds". Each and every state has their own unique issues or problems. Which is the reason for State Laws. I say when the good people of your communities lives are threaten by outsiders you act accordingly. So the people on the border states are still screwed and this will ramp up the Cartel crap which is the hidden threat here. So if Terrorists come in from the South we hand them a Welcome Wagon Packet? This country is gone way to far in the wrong direction. I wish people would turn off their cell phones and reality TV and wake-up!

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