New York Daily News


- Allan Wernick

THE SUPREME Court’s decision upholding portions of Arizona’s repressive immigratio­n law was unsettling, but not unexpected. The court struck down most of the law. Provisions found to violate the U.S. Constituti­on include those that would have allowed state officials to arrest immigrants

for not carrying their immigratio­n papers or detain those the police think are here illegally. Under the constituti­onal notion of federal preemption, those powers are exclusive to the federal government. The individual states may not have their own im-migration policies. The court upheld only the provision requiring the police to check the immigratio­n status of individual­s lawfully detained for other-than-immigratio­n violations. that’s similar to what the federal government already requires of states under the Secure Communitie­s program.

The obvious danger in a state like Arizona, with a viciously anti-immigrant state

government, is racial profiling. the fear is that Arizona police will target latinos for arrest as an excuse to check their immigratio­n status. The Arizona law prohibits racial profiling, and the court noted that provision in upholding the law. the court left the door open to challenges if Arizona authoritie­s abuse it. Further, the court noted that it might violate the U.S. Constituti­on if officials delay releasing individual­s while waiting for clearance from Immigratio­n and Customs Enforcemen­t, the dreaded ICE.

Immigrants’ rights advocates in arizona and other states pass-ing similar laws will need to be vigilant to ensure officers don’t exceed their authority.

The court’s decision is a setback more for its symbolism than for its practical implicatio­n.

As the economy improves and the nation moves to a more friendly view of immigrants, Arizona will be forced to temper its anti-immigrant

enforcemen­t plans. Meanwhile, it is sad that Arizona, with the Supreme Court’s blessing, will continue to demonize immigrants with special laws that target them.

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