WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday struck down significant portions of the controversial Arizona immigration law, but allowed to stand a hot-button provision that requires police officers to review the immigration status of any detainees they suspect of being in the United States illegally.
The high court, reviewing four portions of the law, struck down three, saying that the state had overstepped its authority by making it a state crime for immigrants not to register with the federal government, or for illegal immigrants to seek work or hold a job. It also threw out a provision that would allow police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant.
Although the justices were divided 5 to 3 on the three provisions, on the most controversial ruling they were united: They unanimously upheld the centerpiece of the legislation, the “show me your papers” provision, which requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone stopped or arrested who they suspect is an illegal immigrant.
Critics, including President Obama, say the provision will encourage racial profiling, because officers will check the status only of those who look as if they are illegal immigrants.
The justices suggested the provision could be subject to more challenges, depending on how it is implemented.
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