Washington (CNN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court struck down Monday key parts of an Arizona law that sought to deter illegal immigration, but let stand a controversial provision that lets police check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws.
In a decision sure to ripple across the political landscape in a presidential election year, the court's 5-3 ruling upheld the authority of the federal government to set immigration policy and laws.
"The national government has significant power to regulate immigration," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. "Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermined federal law."
The Supreme Court concluded that the federal government has the power to block the law -- known as SB1070. Yet the court let stand one of the most controversial parts of the bill -- a provision that lets police check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws if "reasonable suspicion" exists that the person is in the United States illegally.
President Barack Obama also expressed concern over the immigration status checks allowed by Monday's ruling, saying they could lead to racial profiling.
"No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like," Obama said. "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, as the court's decision recognizes."
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, meanwhile, declared the ruling a victory for her state, saying the "heart" of the law can now be implemented "in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.
However, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Monday's ruling "essentially puts an end to immigration enforcement since the states no longer can step in and fill the void created by the Obama administration.
Provisions struck down included:
-- Authorizing police to arrest immigrants without warrant where "probable cause" exists that they committed any public offense making them removable from the country.
-- Making it a state crime for "unauthorized immigrants" to fail to carry registration papers and other government identification.
-- Forbidding those not authorized for employment in the United States to apply, solicit or perform work. That would include immigrants standing in a parking lot who "gesture or nod" their willingness to be employed.
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