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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs