Ruling reached on SB 1070


Both sides of the immigration debate are encouraged by the recent Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s controversial bill, SB 1070.

In its decision, the Supreme Court struck down three aspects of the bill. First, making it legal to arrest immigrants (making them deportable) with only probable cause that they committed a crime, not a warrant. Second, making it a crime to be an undocumented illegal alien. Finally, making it a crime for an illegal alien to apply for, solicit, or perform work.

One aspect of the law, however, was upheld. Police are allowed to check a person’s immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is illegal.

Supporters of this bill saw this ruling as a victory. “Today is a day when the key component of our effort to protect the citizens of Arizona, to take up the fight against illegal immigration — in a balanced and constitutional way — has unanimously been vindicated by the highest court in the land,” said Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in a press conference.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, an opponent of the  bill, viewed the ruling as a victory as well. “The ruling shows that the Obama administration was right to challenge this law, which was not just ill-advised but unconstitutional as well.”

Others had a more balanced view. Allie Schulte is a graduate student at the University of Utah who works with a group called the Salt Lake Dream Team, an advocacy group for immigrants’ rights. She said they were glad most of the provisions were struck down, but they disheartened that the most controversial part of the bill, the “show me your papers” provision, was upheld by the Supreme Court.

In its decision, however, the Supreme Court kept the door open for more litigation once the law is put into effect. It appears the federal government is already preparing for a future challenge to the law.

“One thing that we were happy about,” Schulte said, “is that the Department of Justice immediately opened a hotline to allow anyone who felt like they were racially profiled because of this law to call in and report it. I think there’s going to be a lot more litigation and lawsuits against the State of Arizona because of that.”




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