Barack Obama's campaign to woo the Hispanic vote received a boost as his administration emerged largely victorious in its bid to get the Supreme Court to strike down an immigration law introduced by Arizona.
The US Supreme Court ruled in favour of three out of four of the President's arguments that the southwestern state was not entitled to set its own immigration policy and make it a crime for immigrants to not carry registration documents, or to seek employment without a work permit.
The favourable ruling came a week after President Obama seized the initiative on the immigration debate by announcing a partial amnesty for young illegal immigrants who will now not be deported if they came to the US with their parents.
However, it partially upheld the most notorious measure of Arizona's SB1070 law, which allows police in the state to force people suspected of being illegal immigrants to produce their ID papers, giving conservatives hope that they could rebuild a tough anti-immigrant policy around it.
While politicians on the Republican right claimed 'victory', legal analysts said that the eight Justices had in large part sided with the government's view that Arizona could not introduce measures that far out-stripped existing national immigration rules.
"On net, the SB1070 decision is a significant win for the Obama Administration. It got almost everything it wanted," wrote Tom Goldstein, a Harvard law professor at the influential SCOTUS blog who has argued 25 cases before the Supreme Court.
The ruling was welcomed by Mr Obama who said he was "pleased" that the government had won on most points, but raised concerns that the Court's decision had still left the door open to immigrants being stopped on sight.
"No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans," he said.
Republican proponents of the law said the decision to allow police officers to check the immigration status of arrested persons was a victory.
Jan Brewer, the Governor of Arizona who has become the face of the Arizona immigration controversy claimed the decision to uphold the police's right to check immigration status of arrested persons as a victory for proponents of the law.
"After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 [the law] can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. I am confident our officers are prepared to carry out this law responsibly and lawfully. Nothing less is acceptable." However independent legal analysts were much more cautious, arguing that the Court appeared to have pulled the teeth from the so-called "let me see your papers" decision by ruling that police could only carry out immigration checks as part of their routine enquiries into a suspect.
"The Court said you can't be stopped to have your papers checked," Michel Paradis, Georgetown University law professor told The Telegraph, "all it does is require local police to check the immigration status of anyone they take into custody, in the same way they could check on where you live, what your age is, etc." The Court's ruling immediately put pressure on Mitt Romney, who was campaigning in Arizona yesterday [MON], to clearly state his position on the contents of the law, which he has consistently said Arizona has the right to enforce.
His campaign released a carefully-worded statement attacking Mr Obama for failing to "provide any leadership" on immigration but declining to specify exactly which of the measures stuck down by the court he supported.
Mr Romney has walked a tightrope in courting Republican Right-wingers who back the law's measures, while not wholeheartedly endorsing them, apparently for fear of alienating Hispanics and moderate voters.
At a primary debate in Arizona in February, Mr Romney praised Arizona's immigration law as "a model" for the US, yet aides later stressed he was only referring to the state's "e-verify" policy, which forces employers to check the legal status of job applicants on an electronic government database.
To his embarrassment, Russell Pearce, an Arizona state senator who co-authored the law and was linked to far-Right extremists, declared Mr Romney's immigration policy "identical to mine". Mr Pearce was ejected from office in a recall election in November.
After enthusiastically courting another co-author of the law - Kris Kobach, the Republican secretary of state of Kansas - during the primary campaign, Mr Romney has since tried to distance himself from Mr Kobach and his strident anti-immigration rhetoric.
Mr Obama victory at the Conservative-leaning court came as the much-anticipated decision on his healthcare reforms – or "Obamacare" as critics call it – failed to materialize. The judgment is now expected on Thursday.----
In: Regional News, WTF
Tags: yanks, screwed, over, immigration, doomed, dead, yankeeland, finished, obama
Location: United States (load item map)
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