UPDATED June 25, 10:50am
The Supreme Court this morning upheld the provision in Arizona’s SB 1070 that empowers police officers to use racial profiling to enforce immigration law.
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the most controversial element of Arizona’s immigration law, allowing the state to require police officers to enforce immigration laws. Three other provisions of the law have been struck down.
Arizona’s law S.B. 1070, passed in 2010, makes it a crime to be in the state as an undocumented immigrant and compels local law officials to enforce the law. The law inspired conservatives across the country to adopt more aggressive measures against undocumented immigrants. At the same time, it spurred huge rallies across the country in 2010, with its opponents charging the measure smacks of racism and is a disgrace to Arizona.
Only eight of the court’s justices ruled on the case because Associate Justice Elena Kagan recused herself. She served as President Obama’s solicitor general when the administration decided to challenge the law.
Rather than focusing on the law’s potential to create racial discrimination, the U.S. government challenged the law in court based on the concept of federal supremacy. Immigration regulation, the federal government argued, should be in the hands of the federal government, not the states.