The Supreme Court has finally come down with a verdict on SB 1070, the controversial immigration law that thrust Arizona into the national discussion on immigration and civil rights two years ago. The high court upheld the "show me your papers" provision, one of SB 1070's more contentious elements, which requires state law enforcement officials to check the status of anyone they stop or arrest if they believe that person might be an illegal immigrant. The justices struck down provisions requiring immigrants to have papers registered with the federal government, banning illegal immigrants from working or trying to work in public places, and allowing police to arrest people they suspect might have committed deportable crimes.
"I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status," President Obama said in a statement following the ruling. The Court put the responsibility of investigating illegal immigration solely in the hands of the federal authorities, stripping state officials of the power to fight illegal immigration themselves.
But the split ruling has allowed both sides to wave the victory flag. Speaking to Arizona TV station KNXV about the "show me your papers" provision, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said, "I think this is a good section that's been upheld." Arpaio vows to continue his department's current practices, telling The Takeaway that the Court's ruling "sort of confirms what we've been doing anyway, so nothing's going to change, as far as my office is concerned, about enforcing state illegal immigration laws."
President of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition Dulce Matuz is an undocumented Latina and has mixed feelings about the ruling. Since the cornerstone of SB 1070 was upheld, she doesn't think much will change in her home state of Arizona.