It was unclear what the court would do with other aspects of the law that have been put on hold by lower federal courts. The other blocked provisions make it a state crime for immigrants not to have immigration registration papers and for illegal immigrants to seek work or hold a job.
Peter Spiro, a Tempe University law professor who specializes in immigration law, predicted the court would uphold the police check of immigration status in Arizona's law, but said he wouldn't be surprised if the court threw out a provision making it a crime to be without immigration documents.
Such a ruling would let police question people about their immigration status if they have good reason to do so, but police would have to call federal authorities to see if they would want to pick up anyone found to be in the country illegally. If federal agents decline, officers would have to release the person, unless they were suspected of committing crimes, Spiro said.
If that happened, the law would be mostly symbolic, but would still carry some significance for immigrants, Spiro said. "It would make it clear that Arizona is unfriendly to undocumented aliens," Spiro said.
A decision in the case is expected in late June.
Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman contributed from Washington, D.C.
- 50 things you might not know about 15 of your...
- Switched at birth, man raised in poverty...
- Former South African President Nelson Mandela...
- 1 child dead in Idaho elementary school bus...
- Court: Mormon church, members not liable in...
- Saving Africa? New book casts harsh light on...
- Obama: Income inequality a defining challenge
- Disgraced priest to wed pope adviser's daughter
- Obama: Income inequality a defining... 98
- Croatians vote against same-sex marriage 50
- Court: Mormon church, members not... 34
- Notre Dame sues over health care law's... 30
- Colorado court hears discrimination... 28
- Fast food outlets planning strike for... 25
- Fast-food strikes return amid push for... 24
- Research: Native American genes have... 23