When the Supreme Court struck down 3 out of 4 provisions of Arizona's controversial SB 1070, immigrant-bashing law Monday, President Barack Obama received a huge, unexpected boost, Mitt Romney got egg on his face, and U.S. Latinos and other immigrant Americans were condemned to a form of discrimination known as racial profiling.
The ruling was great for Obama because the court not only agreed with his administration in reaffirming that immigration is strictly a federal matter, but also because the provision it let stand is the one that will continue to turn Latinos against the Republican Party.
By upholding the "show me your papers" provision of the Arizona law, the high court shamefully has embraced racial profiling as an acceptable law enforcement tool. The civil rights of many legal immigrant Americans surely will be violated because of this draconian decision.
The ruling was particularly bad for Romney because he had pledged to withdraw the federal lawsuit against three Arizona provisions, which now have been found to be unconstitutional even by this right-leaning Supreme Court. If it had been up to Romney, even the three provisions rejected by the high court would have been allowed to become the law in Arizona and a few other states that have been waiting to copy and implement its draconian blueprint.
But the law that Romney called "a model" for the whole country, when he was pandering to conservative extremists in Arizona, turned out to be to be a dud for cracking down on undocumented immigrants.
The court rejected the portion of the law that made it a state crime for undocumented immigrants to work or even solicit work. It discarded a section that allowed state and local cops to arrest undocumented immigrants without a warrant when probable cause exists that they committed "any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States." And the court also struck down a part of the law that made it a state crime for undocumented immigrants not to carry federal immigration papers.
Unfortunately for Romney, the only portion of the law that was left standing is the one that crosses over from targeting undocumented immigrants to affecting American citizens — voters — the portion that was bound to backfire against Republicans.
In Arizona and other states seeking to crack down on undocumented immigrants, state and local police may now be required to perform roadside immigration checks if a "reasonable suspicion" exists that someone is in the country illegally.
Since "reasonable suspicion" is left to the discretion of law enforcement officers, many legal U.S. residents or citizens, who may look or sound like foreigners, will have to find a way to prove they belong here.
If this isn't racial profiling, what is?
Of course, those right-wing extremists who openly support racial profiling are extremely happy. At least they got the highly politicized conservative wing of the Supreme Court to throw them a bone.
While the Supreme Court ruling gives both Democrats and Republicans an opportunity to claim victory, American civil liberties suffered a major loss Monday.
Fortunately, apparently worried about the huge mistake it was making, the Supreme Court left this portion of the ruling open for further scrutiny.
And when the racial profiling begins, this ruling will have to be overturned.
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