Today the US Supreme Court struck down key parts of Arizona's immigration law, while upholding probably the most controversial aspect of it.
The high court majority says the part of the law requiring police to check the status of someone they suspect is in the country illegally can go forward.
But the parts of the law struck down include:
- Making it a crime for an illegal immigrant to work or to seek work in Arizona
- Authorizing state and local officers to arrest people without a warrant if the officers have probable cause to believe a person is an illegal immigrant
- Making it a state requirement for immigrants to register with the federal government.
There are some people, like David Armendariz, who will see this ruling as a loss. He's been practicing immigration law for more than seven years and says this law opens up a Pandora's Box of potential problems.
"It should bother you. It should offend you. And you shouldn't want, in my view, this type of government,” Armendariz told us. “It's a big deal to be seized by the government. They're pulling you off the freeway; they're telling you to stop; they're telling you to prove who you are and where you came from."
Then there are people, like Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who view this as a win.
"Arizona's and every other state's inherent authority to protect and defend its people has been upheld,” Governor Brewer said.
Arizona State Troopers and local officers will now be able to check people's immigration status if they reasonably suspect they're not in the US legally. But what does that really mean - Reasonable suspicion? David Armendariz says there's a good chance Arizona will use the same guidelines border patrol agents use when they stop someone; things like people’s appearance, their behavior, and where they are when they get stopped.
State governments across the country are watching Arizona very closely. Some people, including local state representative Joaquin Castro, are worried once Arizona gets it right others will follow. (See full statement below.)
Governor Rick Perry has even weighed in on this debate, calling this a victory for state governments. He has criticized President Obama and the federal government's inability to secure our borders. (See full statement below.)