The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s controversial immigration law likely will re-ignite the debate over the country’s immigration policy and push the issue back to the front burner for President Barack Obama and his fall opponent, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
It also forces states that have followed Arizona’s lead with mirror legislation to re-think their strategy.
The decision did leave in place the right for law enforcement to require those suspected of being in the country illegally to produce documents. But some justices stated that even that provision could come under further court scrutiny if racial profiling led to the request.
Supporters of the Arizona law claim the maintenance by the court of the law’s “centerpiece” a great victory.
Scanning through online posts on blogs and stories posted on the ruling reveals how polarized the country remains on immigration, particularly immigrants from Mexico — even though a recent report on immigration trends shows the greatest influx of immigrants into America comes from Asia now.
Here are some examples of those posts:
- “. . . Further, as an Arizona resident, I will never submit to any Arizona state official questioning my 'legal' status for any reason whatsoever. I do not recognize their authority in the matter, period.”
- “How many of us walk around with "proof of citizenship" papers? Anybody? Well, according to this law, you can be "detained" if the cops ask for proof or citizenship and you don't have any. How do they determine who they will ask? Racial profiling. Racial bias. That's illegal.”
- “When I drive, I'm required to carry license, registration and proof of insurance. When I've been pulled over, my license is run through a database to see if I'm wanted anywhere on an outstanding warrant. In sum, I am thoroughly vetted at the time I am detained. Why shouldn't illegal immigrants who are breaking the law by driving without the 3 documents listed above be subject to the very same laws as US citizens?”
In the states’ rights battle, the states seem to lose on this one. And Chief Justice John Roberts left his politically conservative colleagues, most notably Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Samuel Alito, to join the majority.
Court watchers might see that as giving the Obama Administration’s healthcare law, also under review by the court, a chance of surviving.
The immigration issue is far from resolved with the court’s decision. The debate will continue.
What would you like to contribute to the debate?