Arizona immigration law: Supreme Court voices support

Published: Wednesday, April 25 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

Supporters of immigrant rights rally at the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, April 25, 2012, as the court held a hearing on Arizona's "show me your papers" immigration law .

Charles Dharapak, Associated Press

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    The U.S. Supreme Court appeared to lean in Arizona's favor Wednesday during a hearing on the state's controversial immigration law.

    Court members voiced skepticism about parts of Arizona's law, including a provision punishing illegal immigrants who apply for jobs. Across the board, though, justices suggested that illegal immigration is a significant problem in Arizona and the state ought to have some sovereignty to address it, Fox News reported.

    Four provisions in Arizona's S.B. 1070, which was passed in 2010, are under scrutiny, including a mandate that police officers check immigration status when they have "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the United States illegally.

    U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued the Obama administration's case. Halfway through his presentation, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic named to the Supreme Court, told him, "You can see it's not selling very well."

    At one point, Chief Justice John Roberts said he didn't think the federal government wants to know how many illegal immigrants are in the country, according to Businessweek.

    “What does sovereignty mean if it does not include the ability to defend your borders?” Justice Antonin Scalia said.

    Outside the court, some protesters brandishing signs reading "Stop Deportations Now" and "No SB-1070" chanted "Los immigrantes, somos importantes!" — Immigrants, we are important.

    Opponents argue Arizona's law encourages racial profiling.

    "America’s immigrants are our neighbors, our co-workers and our future,” said John Wilhelm, President of UNITE Here, a hospitality workers labor union. “Criminalization and unfair targeting of our immigrant brothers and sisters is nothing more than scapegoating aimed at dividing us and distracting our attention from the real problems we face – a lack of good jobs and the capture of our political system by the rich and powerful.”

    Others, who support the law, also came to rally, according to The Medill News Service. One woman led a sing-along of "God Bless America."

    “Right now we’ve got millions of Americans out of work, so we can’t afford to support all of these illegals who came here illegally, who are taking up jobs that Americans could be doing now,” said John Balazek, an unemployed steel worker who’s originally from Riverdale, Md. “They’re overwhelming our culture."

    The outcome of the case may have implications for numerous other states, including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah, which have passed copy-cat immigration laws.

    The Court likely won't issue a decision before late June.

  • Related article: Opponents of Arizona immigration law rally as Supreme Court hears arguments

  • Related article: AP — Supreme Court takes up Arizona immigration law

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