LOS ANGELES - The Supreme Court of the United States struck down key provisions of an Arizona state law on immigration Monday, and both sides of the debate have claimed a partial victory. Supporters and opponents of the Arizona law say the issues it raises remain in place across the country.
The court ruled that three parts of SB 1070, the Arizona law aimed at illegal aliens, were infringements by the state on federal authority over immigration. But it kept in place a controversial provision that requires police to check the immigration status of those they stop for other reasons, if the police suspect they are in the country illegally.
Workers at a day labor center in Los Angeles watched the debate closely. They are California residents, so the law does not affect them. But day worker Saul Linas says he fears the Arizona law is part of a national trend.
“I feel bad because it is something that is happening to my people, Latin people," he said. "And I feel bad because this is something that should not be happening. There should be equality for everyone, for everyone who is here, working.”
Those who enter the country illegally are subject to deportation by federal authorities.
Aaron Pineda, 36, was brought to Los Angeles as an infant. He has no immigration papers and worries about being deported to Mexico.
“Like they’re sending me to a foreign land. I don’t want to go to Mexico," Pineda lamented. "My wife, my six kids are here. They’re all attending school, they’re getting good grades. And it’s just messed up; they want to send me to Mexico. I’ve got nothing in Mexico.”
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer says her state's law is now in effect, although without the provisions struck down by the Supreme Court.
"The court upheld the ability of the local law enforcement to assist the federal government in immigration laws, meaning they have the authority under reasonable suspicion to question someone who has already been apprehended to certify whether they are, have legal status in Arizona," Brewer announced.
UCLA Astronomer Benjamin Zuckerman worries about the effects of population growth on the environment and uncontrolled immigration on the nation. He belongs to a group called Californians for Population Stabilization.
“With 20 million or so unemployed Americans now, many of whom are people of color, black Americans and Hispanic Americans, either citizens or people here legally, we really don’t want to see large numbers of people coming into the country illegally because they’re competing with people who are here already and who need jobs,” he said.
Both sides of the debate look to the federal government to resolve the issue of the millions of people who are already in the United States illegally.
US Immigration Laws