Politics

Attorney General Harris Praises Supreme Court’s Immigration Ruling

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San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris at a 2008 press conference. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris at a 2008 press conference. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — California Attorney General Kamala Harris is praising Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down several parts of a controversial Arizona immigration law enacted in 2010.

Harris said the ruling “strikes down some of the most egregious components of Arizona’s misguided law.

“I believe today’s decision is an important step forward in setting aside policies that divide law enforcement from the communities we serve,” she said.

The state of Arizona appealed to the high court after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco last year upheld a preliminary injunction by a federal judge in Phoenix that blocked four provisions of the law.

In Monday’s decision, the high court overturned three of those provisions, saying that they are preempted by federal immigration law.

The court left in place for the time being a fourth provision that requires state and local police to determine the immigration status of people they arrest.

But the panel said that provision could be applied only in cases of valid arrests, and also left the door open for it to be challenged later.

The other three provisions struck down by the court were sections that allowed warrantless arrests of people believed to have committed deportable offenses; made it a state crime to be in the country illegally; and made it a state crime for undocumented immigrants to seek or hold jobs.

Julia Mass, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union’s San Francisco office, said California is among the states that have already rejected Arizona’s approach.

“Californians already understand the importance of allowing police to focus on public safety instead of local immigration enforcement,” Mass said.

Emphasizing the provision that was not struck down, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer issued a statement calling the ruling “a victory for the rule of law” and saying that “the heart of the law” can now be implemented.

President Obama said in a statement, “I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law.”

However, the president said he is concerned about the impact of the provision left in place.

“What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform,” Obama said.

“A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system—it’s part of the problem,” he said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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