DENVER (CBS4) – The U.S. Supreme Court took some of the teeth out Arizona’s tough immigration law. The court on Monday upheld a key provision in the law, but struck down the rest of it, and the ruling has implications for Colorado.
Colorado’s law mirrors the Arizona provision often referred to as “Show Me Your Papers.” It requires police during stops or arrests to check a person’s immigration status if they suspect the person is in the country illegally. With Tuesday’s ruling it is a law other states will likely adopt.
It was the most controversial provision in Arizona’s law. The provision triggered protests across the country and calls to boycott the state. It’s a provision Colorado has had in place for six years.
“It served as the model for SB-1070 in Arizona and now Georgia and across the country, and it’s something we need to overturn in our state,” Julie Gonzales with the Colorado Progressive Coalition said.
Gonzales says Colorado’s law has led to exactly what critics of Arizona’s law fear — racial profiling. But in its decision the court only considered whether the law was an overreach of state power, ruling enforcement of immigration is the exclusive role of the federal government.
“If the federal government then decides they’re not going to enforce what Congress has already done, then what do we have? We have chaos,” said Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch.
Harvey was the sponsor of Colorado’s law, which passed in 2006 with a Democratic-controlled House.
“Nobody made a big deal out of that issue ,” Harvey said.
He claims President Obama is politicizing the issue now. But the Supreme Court sided with the administration in several areas — striking down a requirement that immigrants carry documentation and a provision that would have made it a crime for illegal immigrants to apply for a job.
“It absolutely is no surprise that under a broken system the Supreme Court would issue a broken ruling,” Gonzales said.
Eight other states are considering similar laws.
Even if police turn over suspected illegal immigrants, Homeland Security has made it clear it will only detain people with criminal convictions or those who have recently crossed the border.