News release from the Southern Poverty Law Center:
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling this morning, which struck down three provisions and upheld only one of Arizona’s unconstitutional anti-immigrant law. Arizona’s law has served as a model for similar laws in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – states where the SPLC and other civil rights groups have filed lawsuits challenging those laws.
“Today’s decision is a blow to Arizona’s anti-immigrant law and similar copycat laws that have sprung up in other states,” said Mary Bauer, legal director for the SPLC. “The court’s decision affirms that much of these laws are unconstitutional because they are preempted by federal law and that they have significant concerns about the one provision they allowed to stand.”
The Supreme Court ruled that much of Arizona’s law, specifically sections 3, 5 and 6, are in direct conflict with federal immigration law and are therefore unconstitutional. In the ruling the court wrote, “With power comes responsibility, and the sound exercise of national power over immigration depends on the Nation’s meeting its responsibility to base its laws on a political will informed by searching, thoughtful, rational civic discourse. 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.”
On the one provision they upheld, which would encourage racial profiling by law enforcement, the court expressed significant concerns over whether when actually implemented, it would prove to be unconstitutional as well saying, “Detaining individuals solely to verify their immigration status would raise constitutional concerns.”
“The one thing that is clear from today’s ruling is that the fight against these hateful anti-immigrant laws are far from over,” Bauer said.