Opponents of the Arizona law are expected to ask a judge to put on hold a requirement that police check the immigration status of people they stop. The foes are expected to argue in court that the law can't be enforced without racially profiling people.
PHOENIX — The most contentious part of Arizona’s immigration law won’t take effect until at least July 20.
The U.S. Supreme Court told a lower court Tuesday that the provision’s effective date could be pushed back further if the Obama administration seeks a rehearing before the nation’s highest court.
The Supreme Court struck down three sections of Arizona’s law Monday but upheld its requirement that police check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons.
Foes are expected to ask a judge in the coming days to put the requirement on hold while they argue that the law can’t be enforced without racially profiling people.
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The Obama administration’s challenge to the law didn’t confront racial profiling and instead focused on whether the Arizona law was trumped by federal immigration law.
Soon after the Supreme Court handed down its ruling, Gov. Jan Brewer said she believed the controversial “show me your papers” provision of the law could immediately go into effect.
The first step will be for the case to return to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said James Ziglar, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute.
“The 9th Circuit has to take some action consistent with the court’s opinion,” he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
At a news conference after the decision Monday, Brewer said the state would “move forward instructing law enforcement to begin practicing what the United States Supreme Court has upheld.”
The justices struck down three key provisions of the law cracking down on illegal immigrants — including a requirement that made it a crime for certain immigrants to fail to carry registration papers — saying that the federal government has the sole power to enforce laws against illegal immigration.
But the court let stand a section that requires police officers to check the immigration status of any person they suspect of being in the country illegally — and who has already been stopped for another law-enforcement reason, such as a traffic violation. These status checks should not “result in prolonged detention,” Justice Anthony Kennedy said.
Brewer, a Republican, cast the decision on the law, SB1070, as a vindication for Arizona, saying “the heart of the bill” was upheld.
Brewer acknowledged that more court battles may focus on overturning this provision: “It’s certainly not the end of our journey.”
Arizona legislators passed SB1070 in 2010, contending the federal government was not doing enough to prevent illegal immigration. The Obama administration sued to block it.