News / USA

Obama Pleased, Concerned About Immigration Ruling

President Obama speaking Jun 25, 2012President Obama speaking Jun 25, 2012
President Obama speaking Jun 25, 2012
President Obama speaking Jun 25, 2012
WHITE HOUSE - President Barack Obama on Monday welcomed the ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States striking down key provisions of an immigration law in the state of Arizona.  But Obama says he is concerned about a remaining provision upheld by the high court.

The court struck down three key provisions of the law the Arizona legislature approved in 2010 as part of a series of measures to stem illegal immigration in the state.

The law made it a crime for immigrants without work permits to seek employment, required immigrants to carry registration documents, and authorized police to arrest any immigrant they believe to be deportable - all three provisions struck down by the Supreme Court.

But the nation's highest court upheld the so-called "stop and check" provision of the law that requires authorities to ask people they detain and “reasonably” suspect of being illegal aliens to produce identification papers.

In a written statement, President Obama expressed concern about what he called the "practical impact" of the provision.  "No American," he said, "should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like."  

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, said her state was "vindicated" by the court's decision on the provision.  Arizona, she said, was forced to act in 2010 because the federal government failed to act aggressively against illegal immigration.

"Arizona had no other choice but to act and Arizona did so by following, not changing, federal law.  Instead of devoting resources to suing states likes Arizona, the federal government should have spent time, money and energy on fixing the problem," Brewer said.

Brewer and state officials say they will ensure that the "stop and check" provision of the law is not used for racial profiling.

President Obama said Arizona law enforcement officials must ensure that the law is not enforced “in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes."

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal government will be watching closely to ensure that the law is not being implemented "in a manner that has the purpose or effect of discriminating against the Latino or any other community.

Arizona along with Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah have adopted laws to stem the tide of illegal aliens and control crime seen as directly linked to illegal immigration.

Stephen Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell University Law School, says the Supreme Court ruling will have a big impact on Arizona and other states.

"The court took a very broad view of federal immigration law and struck down three of the four Arizona provisions that were challenged.  And even as to the fourth, the 'papers please' provision, the court upheld that now, but said, 'We're going to watch that carefully and if it is implemented in a discriminatory manner, we may strike that down, too.'  So other states that have passed similar laws are going to be on notice as well that they are going to have to be careful in terms of what kinds of immigration provisions will pass constitutional muster," Yale-Loehr said.

The National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic advocacy organization in the United States, expressed concern that the upholding of the "stop and check" provision will "open the floodgates to the harassment, abuse, and intimidation" of Hispanics.

In a written statement, presumed Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney reiterated his support for the Arizona law and asserted that President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration.  Speaking to donors in Arizona, Romney said he would have preferred that the Supreme Court "give more latitude to the states."

Romney has criticized President Obama's executive order issued earlier this month blocking the deportations of thousands of young illegal aliens.  Public opinion surveys show Obama's decision was highly popular among Hispanics, and with voters in general.

Obama, a Democrat, blames Republicans in Congress for blocking progress on achieving comprehensive immigration reform.  In his statement Monday, the president renewed his call for Congress to work with him on immigration reform.

You May Like

Taiwan President Sounds Warning on Future of China Ties

Current Taiwan government has eased once dangerously tough relations with Beijing since 2008, but next year’s presidential election could change that course More

US Presidential Candidates Woo Hispanic Voters

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton reached out to Hispanic voters this past week in a bid to boost their voter support More

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Documentary is a close-up and personal view of young woman who has become of global symbol of courage and inspiration More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs