U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Some of Arizona's SB 1070

Posted on 26 June 2012

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By Duane Campbell

The U.S. Supreme court today struck down most provisions of the Arizona law SB 1070 while sustaining one of its most controversial provisions.

The court sustained the “show me your papers” provision of the law that requires state law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest.

The most conservative members of the court voted to sustain the entire law. Imagine this.  Judges who consider themselves conservative support a law that requires all persons to carry papers to show their immigration/citizenship status.   This is a practice most often found in repressive regimes such as that of Syria or Nazi Germany.

The decision was a partial victory for the Obama administration, which had sued to block several parts of the law.

In a statement President Obama said that he was "pleased" with the Court's decision to strike down some aspects of the law, but he added,

"I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like," Mr. Obama said. "Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans."

This decision does not mean that the harsh anti immigration efforts of Arizona, Alabama and others states has been completely stopped. When California passed its infamous Prop.187 in 1994, major provisions of it too were blocked by courts from implementation including specifically the provision to bar undocumented children from public schools.

However, most of California’s Prop. 187 became federal law in the national Immigration Enforcement Improvement Act of 1995 and the Welfare “Reform” act of 1996 entitled, “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996.”


Duane Campbell is a Professor of Bilingual/Multicultural Education at Calif. State University-Sacramento and the author of Choosing Democracy; a practical guide to multicultural education.