Supreme Court decides racial profiling should be legal with controversial immigration ruling
I knew the Supreme Court decision on Arizona's SB 1070 would be coming and I sincerely didn't know what to expect considering how the arguments for and against went back in April. So this morning when I woke up to the news that the decision was in, I wasn't completely surprised, but I was definitely disappointed.
While the Supreme Court deemed three portions of the law unconstitutional, the most controversial part was upheld. And so now, officers in Arizona will be required to question the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if they suspect that her or she might be in the country illegally.
Read more in ¿Qué más?: Why the Supreme Court should kills Arizona's racist immigration law
Although this paves the way for this part of the law to go into effect, authorities can't begin enforcing it until the lower courts lift the injunction blocking it since 2010. It isn't clear how long that will take.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jan Brewer has called it "a victory for the rule of law" and has promised, again, to make sure that it's not used "in a fashion that violates an individual's civil rights." But I simply don't know how that will be avoided. I mean, how can an officer determine if there's reasonable suspicion that a person is in the country illegally? I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. As I've said it before, this basically gives police officers the green light to racially profile those they stop, detain or arrest. I don't see it any other way.
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The only thing that make me less worried about the Supreme Court upholding this key part of the law is that according to Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion, if a person is detained under SB 1070 for longer than they required just to check their legal immigration status, that would be a constitutional problem--leaving the state vulnerable for future possible lawsuits.
While the Supreme Court was ruling on the constitutionality of SB 1070 and deemed the key part of the law constitutional, that still does not make it right.
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Image via SEIU International/flickr