Washington, D.C. -
The Supreme Court has struck down three of the four controversial provisions of Arizona's immigration law in a 5-3 ruling on Monday. The only provision the justices upheld was the police could check someone's immigration status during a legal stop by police for other reasons and that process must not result in detaining the person stopped for an extended period.
In their rulings, the justices said in the majority opinion that the federal government has the sole responsibility of enforcing immigrations laws in the United States, which means others states like Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Indiana are likely to be removed from their books as well.
"Federal law makes a single sovereign responsible for maintaining a comprehensive and unified system to keep track of aliens within the nation's borders,” Kennedy wrote. If Arizona could arrest and hold immigrants for not carrying papers, "every state could give itself independent authority to prosecute federal registration violations."
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor joined with Kennedy in an opinion that appears to give states little new authority to enforce immigration law on their own.
Arizona's SB 1070 that made it a state crime for illegal immigrants to seek work and to not to carry immigration papers has been struck down in this ruling. The justices also blocked a provision that gave the police authority to arrest immigrants for crimes that may lead to deportation.
The Obama administration had sued Arizona along with the other states that passed tough new immigration laws arguing it is a federal government responsibility.