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The U.S. Supreme Court Monday issued its ruling on the constitutionality of Arizona's controversial immigration law, which the state of Alabama used as a basis for its own legislation.
The Court upheld some parts of the Arizona law, but struck down other parts.
- A requirement that police, while enforcing other laws, question people's immigration status if officers have reasonable suspicion they're in the country illegally.
- A requirement that all immigrants obtain or carry immigration registration papers.
- A provision making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job.
- A provision that would allow police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.
After learning of the ruling, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) and other state officials are issuing statements in reaction.
There's also reaction coming in from civil rights organizations such as the SPLC who opposed the state immigration laws. READ HERE.
Governor Bentley's statement:
"While Alabama's anti-illegal immigration law has similar provisions as Arizona's law, the laws are not identical. We will analyze the Supreme Court opinion to see what potential effect it might have on the provisions of Alabama's law. State laws on immigration are required because the federal government has refused to enforce its own immigration policies. The bottom line to Alabama's law is this: if you live and work in the state, you must do so legally. The people of Alabama want a strong immigration law, and I will keep my commitment to uphold and enforce Alabama's anti-illegal immigration law.
Attorney General Luther Strange's statement:
"Today the Supreme Court acknowledged that state law enforcement can play an important role in assisting the federal government in fulfilling its responsibility to enforce the immigration laws of this country. The Court, in this landmark decision, provides guidance on the validity of Arizona's immigration law which will impact Alabama's immigration law along with those of several other states.
Illegal immigration is a serious issue facing states across our nation, and it has been addressed by state legislatures in various ways. Hopefully today's decision will spur the federal government to enforce the rule of law in the immigration arena.
My office will be reviewing today's decision to determine the full extent of its impact on Alabama's law and the pending litigation."
Congresswoman Terry Sewell's statement
"In light of my strong opposition to Alabama's own controversial immigration law HB 56, I am pleased that the majority of Arizona's immigration law was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, I am greatly concerned with the Court's decision to uphold the provision that leaves the door open for racial profiling and discrimination by allowing officers to check the immigration status of lawful immigrants, minorities and even American citizens based on ‘suspicion.' As the Representative of Alabama's 7th Congressional District, where many fought, bled and died for the equal treatment of all Americans, I believe this law undermines those civil rights and equal protections by allowing individuals to be targeted based on the color of their skin. The Supreme Court has expressed the need for further review of this section of the law and it is my hope that this provision will be overturned upon further scrutiny.
Today's decision by the Supreme Court illustrates the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform. It is irresponsible to rely on a state by state piecemeal approach such as Arizona SB 1070 and Alabama HB 56. I remain committed to working together with the President and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress on passing real comprehensive immigration reform."
Alabama HB56 author Rep. Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) statement:
"Today's ruling on the reasonable suspicion section of Arizona's law bodes well for Alabama's common sense illegal immigration statute. When the federal government fully abdicates its enforcement responsibilities, it is up to the states to step in and fill the breach. Alabama will fully enforce those portions of our law that the courts uphold, and we will continue searching for ways to stop the flood of illegal immigration that plagues us."
Alabama Dept. of Homeland Security's statement:
"We are still reviewing the decision and its effect on Alabama's Immigration Law. At first glance, it appears that the right of law enforcement to detain upon reasonable suspicion was upheld. This is a key communication tool for states in assisting federal law enforcement in matters of illegal immigration and the heart of Alabama's statute."
House Speaker Mike Hubbard's statement:
"The core of Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law remains. The Supreme Court has affirmed that states can determine how they will interpret and enforce their anti-illegal immigration laws. We are pleased that the Court recognizes the important roles of states in enforcing immigration laws."
"The Court's decision to uphold the real teeth of Arizona's illegal immigration law is a victory for Alabama and for all states that are fed up with the federal government's refusal to enforce the law. States really are the last line of defense to protect the rights of the people, and never has that been more evident than with President Obama ordering federal agents to stand down on immigration enforcement actions. States have not only the right, but the duty to uphold the rule of law and protect their citizens, especially when the federal government refuses to do so."
President Pro Tem Del Marsh's statement:
"The Court validated our position that states have a role to play in enforcing illegal immigration laws – a critical component considering that President Obama has chosen to look the other way. We consider this a win for Alabama's effort to make sure those who live and work in our state do so legally."
The effects of the Supreme Court's ruling on Alabama's immigration law are still being analyzed.
WSFA 12 News will continue to update this story as more information and reaction become available.
Copyright 2012 WSFA 12 News. The Associated Press contributed. All rights reserved.