By Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog
MIAMI— After more than two years of hostile debates and arguments, the controversial Arizona immigration law finally met its fate in the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.
According to the ruling, police can still verify the immigration status of a person only if they believe the suspect is undocumented.
The majority of the court’s ruling, however, was dedicated to striking down three clauses: obliging residents to carry immigration documents at all times, imposing criminal charges for undocumented immigrants seeking employment and arresting a person suspected of being undocumented without a warrant.
“In my opinion, the decision of the court is confusing,” said Maria Trina Burgos, an immigration lawyer in Miami.
She told Florida Watchdog that the court upheld the most important section, known as “show me your papers” provision, which allows police to ask for legal documents from any person arrested for a crime unrelated to immigration.
“I did not expect the ruling. (The court) considered it unconstitutional because states can not legislate on immigration,” said Burgo, who admitted that the ruling could set a precedent for other states.
“I think we could soon get a similar proposal in Tallahassee,” she said.
The ruling will remain controversial because it allows detention to be ordered based upon a person’s race, which has been a problem so far, amounting to civil rights transgressions based upon “racial persecution,” according to Burgos.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration announced it would eliminate the 287 (G) program in Arizona, which gives local authorities increased authority for arresting illegal immigrants.
The program is structured as an agreement between local police departments and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and is in place in several counties in the United States, according to ICE’s website.
The decision of the White House to remove the 287(g) program adds more tension to relations with the governor of Arizona, Republican Jan Brewer.
“President Obama has once again abandoned the citizens of Arizona,” she said in a statement.
“It is no coincidence that this announcement occurs immediately after the Supreme Court released the judgment upholding the constitutionality of the provision at the heart of the Arizona law against illegal immigration: SB 1070,” she added.
“It is worth noting that 68 law enforcement agencies in 24 states are running the 287 (g), but it seems that the only agreements which were eliminated today were in Arizona, the state that happens to be in the forefront of the U.S. struggle against illegal immigration.”
“Apparently we are on our own,” said Brewer.
Watch the Spanish-language interview with lawyer Maria Trina Burgos: