Surrounded by barbed wire, Jorge Mendez joined others from Promise Arizona to protest the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Arizona's immigration law SB 1070 at a vigil set up in front of the Capitol Friday, June 22, in Phoenix. Opponents of the measure had set up an around-the-clock vigil until the ruling was handed down.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Parts of Arizona Anti-Immigration Law

Rob Capriccioso

WASHINGTON – In a case watched closely by tribal observers concerned about their families who live on the United States-Mexico border, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down several controversial parts of an Arizona anti-immigration law. The high court struck down most of the law, SB 1070, which was signed into law by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in 2010, and attempted to make it a crime for an immigrant to be in the state without carrying the required federal identification documents. It also called on state law enforcement officers to determine an individual's immigration status during a "lawful stop, detention or arrest," or during a "lawful contact" not specific to any activitywhen there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal immigrant. It further banned state or local officials or agencies from restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws, and cracked down on those sheltering, hiring and transporting illegal immigrants. The law has been widely called the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in the nation’s recent history. The high court rejected three major parts of the law, including the portions that would make it a state crime for illegal immigrants not to possess their federal registration cards, as well as those that would make it a crime for illegal immigrants to work, apply for work or solicit work. The court also ruled against the ability of state and local police to arrest illegal immigrants without a warrant when probable cause exists that they committed "any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.” It did leave standing the “check your papers” portion of the law, but indicated that even that section could face further legal obstacles. President Barack Obama previously called the Arizona law "misguided," and the U.S. Department of Justice sued the state, claiming the entire law was unconstitutional. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said he supports anti-immigration ideas similar to those in the law that were struck down.

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