AZ Immigration Ruling Leaves Room For States’ “Papers Please” Laws


While the Supreme Court struck down major pieces of Arizona’s controversial immigration law as state overreach, it's far from clear whether the ruling will quash legislative efforts in other states to ferret out illegal immigrants, says the Christian Science Monitor. The political backlash over state immigration laws and the natural ebbing of illegal migration resulting from the poor economy were two reasons the number of immigration-related bills at the state level declined by 44 percent between 2011 and 2012.

Yesterday’s decision was in parts decisive, chiding Arizona for introducing “intrusions on the federal scheme.” It left intact Arizona's “papers please” provision that allows police officers to ask for identification from people they suspect to be in the country illegally. That leaves enough of an opening for state legislators to keep weighing the majority support among Americans for tough immigration-related laws against such laws’ political and economic risks. “Short term this decision keeps immigration as a front-and-center issue in the 2012 election, because it didn't provide closure and essentially told both sides to go at it,” says Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “In the long term, what it means is that state legislatures, at least in some states, will likely have to deal with this in terms of whether they get an Arizona-style law that includes the parts that got the seal of approval.”

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