No clear winner in Arizona immigration ruling

Published: Monday, June 25 2012 5:36 p.m. MDT

On a practical level, the Supreme Court took most of the teeth out of Arizona's law, wrote political reporter Terry Moran in an op-ed for ABC News.

"All the Arizona cops can do is inform federal immigration authorities if they round up an illegal immigrant," Moran wrote. "And the feds are perfectly free to ignore them. That’s a lot of hoo-ha, and a lot of police paperwork, for a pretty trifling payoff."

By upholding part of the law, though, the court supported the idea that it's OK to "make things so difficult for illegal immigrants that they would deport themselves."

"From an emotional standpoint, this decision might deepen the divide among Americans on this issue," he wrote.

The ruling may have implications for other states that have enacted similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah have passed laws with lawful stop provisions. Alabama and South Carolina's laws makes it a state crime to fail to have immigration papers handy. Indiana's SB 590 allows officers to make warrantless arrests.

In anticipation of the Supreme Court's ruling, fewer states pursued immigration bills in 2012, the NCSL reported. In the first quarter of 2012, legislators introduced 865 bills and resolutions, compared to 1,538 in the first quarter of 2011.

Going forward, states will "have to really almost go back to square one and really rethink their approach and how much time and money they want to put into these types of statutes," Dan Kowalski, an immigration lawyer at the Fowler Law Firm in Austin, Texas, told CNN. "Number one: They're going to have to spend a lot of money on lawyers to try to craft something that they think can withstand Supreme Court scrutiny; Number two: they're going to have to budget money for further litigation because, no matter what they propose on a state level, it's going to be challenged. That costs a lot of money. So they're going to have to figure out if it's worth it."

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