Silver Lining: AZ Can Only Enforce 'Papers Please' Law With Permission From Dept. Of Homeland Security


This is certainly a silver lining. Despite SCOTUS upholding the "your papers, please" provision in the Arizona immigration law, in practical application, it means the Department of Homeland Security can keep Arizona law enforcement on a very short leash:

PHOENIX (AP) -- For all the declarations of victory, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to preserve the "show me your papers" provision in Arizona's immigration law means the state can enforce the statute only with the help of its chief critic: the federal government.

The court's decision Monday struck down parts of the law, but preserved one that requires local police to check the immigration status of people stopped for various reasons and whom officers believe are in the country illegally.

There was a catch, however. The court decided that officers cannot detain anyone on an immigration violation. That is, unless federal immigration officials say so.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the controversial lawman known for his anti-immigration raids, said he was concerned whether federal agents will decline to pick up some illegal immigrants who are stopped by his deputies.

"I have my suspicions," he said.

Hours after the ruling, the Department of Homeland Security canceled agreements with seven Arizona police departments that deputized officers to arrest people on immigration violations while on street patrol.

Federal immigration officers will help, but only if doing so conforms to the department's priorities, including catching repeat violators and identifying and removing those who threaten public safety and national security, the department said.


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