Groups with a vested interested in U.S. immigration policy are alternately applauding or reeling at the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week to strike down most of a controversial Arizona immigration law.
Arizona’s S.B. 1070, which aimed to deter illegal immigration into the state, was passed in 2010. The federal government challenged the law, saying that federal law pre-empted the bill.
The Supreme Court agreed and struck down three of four parts of the bill, included provisions allowing officers to arrest or search a person they had “probable cause” to believe that person might be an illegal alien.
"The National Government has significant power to regulate immigration," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, according to CNN. "Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law."
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Michigan and the National Network for Arab American Communities celebrated the decision, but said the victory was only partial.
Mainly, a section of the law was left in tact that requires law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone who has been lawfully stopped or detained when they have a reason to suspect the person is without lawful status.
“Today’s ruling represents a partial victory – an acknowledgement that most of the Arizona law was clearly not aligned with the Constitution,” said Nadia Tonova, director of the Dearborn-based NNAAC, which is affiliated with . “However, the parts of the law that were allowed to stand mean that racial profiling can continue.”
Tonova vowed to continue the work of ACCESS and the NNAAC to educate the public and lawmakers about harmful laws allowing for racial profiling. She encouraged the public to become involved at the ballot box.
“Legislation such as Arizona’s and others will not be tolerated if we make our voices heard at the ballot in this year’s election,” she said. “We must let our lawmakers know that we have the power to make great change on the issues we care about.”
Still, ADC Michigan Director Imad Hamad called the decision a win for immigrants new and old everywhere.
“This ruling attests to the fact that we are a nation of immigrants,” he said. “The impacts of this ruling will be felt around the country.
“We have a long way to go but this is an important step forward.”
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