Californians expressed mixed reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's immigration law, with the California Attorney General saying she was "pleased," immigrants rights groups saying it's "a dark day for justice" and experts shedding light on what the ruling means for California.
While the court struck down many of the law's provisions, it upheld a provision calling on police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop.
"I am pleased with the Court’s decision, which strikes down some of the most egregious components of Arizona’s misguided law," the California attorney general said in a statement. "It also signals potentially significant constitutional concerns with the law’s mandate on local police officers to act as enforcers of immigration law."
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The High Court struck down the following provisions:
- A requirement that all immigrants obtain or carry immigration registration papers.
- A provision making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job.
- A provision that would allow police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.
Reactions to the ruling were mixed and experts talked about the impacts on California.
Bill Hing, a professor of law at the University of San Francisco, said what the court said Monday was that a state or local government cannot create its own immigration laws.
“There’s not any equivalent California law that is like Arizona’s,” Hing said. “However, from time to time, there are different cities -- like Huntington Beach -- that have tried to enact their own immigration laws. For example, making it a crime for undocumented immigrants to solicit work at street corners.
Monday’s ruling, Hing said, is “only bad news if somebody tries to make their own immigration laws.”
The immigrants’ rights group Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles said on Monday that the "show-me-your-papers" provision essentially condones racial profiling.
"Thousands upon thousands of people will fall prey to fishing expeditions by anti-immigrant forces,” said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA’s executive director. "Today’s ruling marks a dark day for justice in the history of the United States of America. In one sweep, the Supreme Court has sided with Arizona and allowed racial profiling as an acceptable law enforcement tool."
Members of the coalition plan to rally at 4 p.m. in response to the ruling. The rally is scheduled for the federal court building on Spring Street in Los Angeles.