In a highly-anticipated 5-3 ruling on Monday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court mostly ruled against Arizona's SB 1070 law, keeping intact a part that would allow local and state law enforcement to check a person's immigration status based on "reasonable suspicion."
Even so, the opinion reads, that provision could still be subject to other legal challenges after it goes into effect.
Dubbed the "nation's toughest bill on illegal immigration" by the New York Times, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in April 2010. Reaction was strong on both sides, and a district judge temporarily blocked four of the law's provisions. Those four provisions were at the center of the Supreme Court case and included:
– The requiring of local law enforcement to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws if she or he has "reasonable suspicion" that that person is in the country without documentation.
– A provision that authorizes law enforcement to arrest immigrants without a warrant if there is "probable cause" they committed a crime.
– A section making it a state crime for "unauthorized immigrants" to fail to carry registration papers and other government identification at all times.
– A ban on undocumented immigrants' applying for, soliciting or performing work.
The Supreme Court ruled that all except for the "reasonable suspicion" provision are trumped by federal immigration enforcement, and therefore invalid.
Tom Goldstein of the SCOTUSblog wrote "the #SB1070 decision is a significant win for the Obama Administration. It got almost everything it wanted."
One expert told OnCentral that the court's decision about Arizona's law would have a "doctrinal effect" and set a precedent for other immigration enforcement legislation across the nation. Another said that "it would be a huge surprise" if the court found the authorization of local and state law enforcement to check immigration status to be unconstitutional.
In 2000 (the latest data available), about 40 percent of South L.A. was comprised of non-citizens.
UPDATE: KPCC's Leslie Berestein Rojas has more on the Supreme Court's SB 1070 decision.