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Immigration Decision Will Affect Other States Too

By Andrew Lu on June 25, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Many states have been waiting for the Supreme Court's ruling on the Arizona immigration law for direction on what they should do with their own laws.

And with the Supreme Court's recent ruling, these states now have an answer -- immigration law is a federal issue, not something for the states to legislate or penalize.

So Congress now needs to step up on immigration reform. Otherwise it's the status quo for frustrated states, reports CNN.

Two years ago, Arizona passed an immigration law that would allow police officers to ask immigration status during routine stops. It made it a crime for illegal immigrants to look for work or fail to carry proper papers, among other provisions. 

In its decision, the Supreme Court said that Arizona officials could still ask individuals they stop about immigration status, but the state had no right to penalize illegal immigrants for looking for work or for not carrying around the proper papers. The Court said this was an area for the federal law to legislate, not the states.

So states with similar bills to that of Arizona have to restart from square one either spending the money and time to craft a law that will likely be rejected by the Supreme Court anyway or abandoning the issue and leaving it to Congress to initiate immigration reform, reports CNN.

Most likely, states will take a step back and wait for Congress to address the supposed "problem." But until the election is over, it's not likely any member of Congress will be willing to tackle this tricky issue.

The Supreme Court rejected many parts of the Arizona immigration law. As a result, states contemplating similar laws have the choice of redrafting their laws in light of the decision or waiting for Congress to address the problem.

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