New York Daily News


Supreme Court takes bite out of immig law but upholds key provision


THE SUPREME Court gutted much of Arizona’s harsh anti-illegal immigrant law Monday with a ruling that is likely to reverberat­e this fall on the presidenti­al campaign trail.

But the top court let stand the controvers­ial “show me your papers” provision allowing police to check a person’s immigratio­n status if they suspect they’re in the U.S. illegally. President Obama warned it could lead to racial profiling.

“No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like,” he said. “We must ensure that Arizona law enforcemen­t officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano directed her agents in Arizona not to respond to requests from local cops who flag a person without papers — unless the suspected illegal immigrant has been convicted of a crime.

In writing for the majority, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy made it clear that cops don’t have the authority to detain people whose papers aren’t in order. State cops can only do paper checks “during the course of an authorized, lawful detention or after a detainee has been released.”

This “is not a license to engage in racial profiling,” added U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. But it could give police legal justificat­ion to harass suspected immigrants, said local activists who rallied in Manhattan. “The message that our communitie­s can be stopped and asked for papers and terrorized doesn’t stop at the border of any particular state,” said Ana Maria Archila.

The Obama administra­tion attacked the law on constituti­onal grounds, arguing that Arizona officials strayed onto federal turf by going after illegal immigrants. In a 5-to-3 decision, the justices mostly agreed. The parts of the law ruled unconstitu­tional include making it a crime to not carry immigratio­n documents or to look for a job without a work permit. The justices also said Arizona cops cannot arrest suspected undocument­ed immigrants without a warrant.

But Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer declared victory because “show me your papers” survived. “Arizona is prepared to move forward to enforce this law that we have fought so hard to defend,” she said.

Dissenting Associate Justice Antonin Scalia used the ruling to blast Obama’s recent announceme­nt to ease deportatio­n rules for some children of illegal immigrants. “The President said at a news conference that the new program is ‘the right thing to do’ in light of Congress’ failure to pass the administra­tion’s proposed revision of the Immigratio­n Act,” Scalia said. “Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so.”

Presumptiv­e GOP presidenti­al nominee Mitt Romney reacted cautiously to the ruling. “I believe that each state has the duty — and the right — to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law,” he said.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States