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Immigrants Rights

Racial profiling might take on a new meaning after Monday, when the Supreme Court delivered a split decision on Arizona’s controversial immigration law. Unanimously upholding the centerpiece of the law, the provision which has come to be called the “show me your papers” provision, the court struck multiple other provisions. The upholding of this “papers please” provision has opened a floodgate of criticism, and rightly so. The provision requires state law enforcement officials to demand immigration papers from anyone who is stopped or arrested and whom they suspect might be undocumented. This process invites and perhaps even encourages racial profiling. Additionally, this provision also establishes a protocol for law enforcement officials to check the immigration status with the federal government before releasing all those who are arrested.Supreme Court Upholds Papers Please Provision TodayThe three other challenged provision made it a criminal offense for undocumented immigrants to not only seek employment in, but also to be in Arizona, and allowed law enforcement officials to arrest anyone whom they suspected to have committed an offense which would result in deportation, all without a warrant.

Papers Please Provision

Justice Antonin Scalia orally summarized his dissent while on the bench in regard to Arizona’s authority “to impose additional penalties and consequences for violations of the federal immigration laws, because it is entitled to have its own immigration laws.” Additionally, he criticized President Obama’s announcement about deferred action made earlier this month. If the latter action seems odd, it must be because it is rather odd as this policy was not one that was before the court. Furthermore, he wrote in his dissent, similar to Justice Clarence Thomas’ own dissent, that he would have upheld all four of the challenged provisions. Justice Samuel Alito wrote that he would have upheld all the provisions but those that criminalized not registering with the federal government. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, noted one of the reasons for striking down three of the challenged provisions, “the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”

Papers Please Dissent

Supreme Court Upholds Papers Please Provision NowThe upholding of the “show me your papers” provision, however, is rather daunting; it provides a stepping stone for other states that have similar immigration statutes as Arizona. The discourse that this Supreme Court ruling puts in place, though it might be put under review and eventually struck down if its implementation is conducted using discriminatory ways, is still cause for worry. Will this decision be a match that lights an already teeming powder keg?If you would like to speak with one of our expert Attorney's regarding the "Papers Please" ruling we invite you to call our office (212) 944-9072 or schedule an appointment with Oltarsh & Associates, P.C.
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