The Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's crackdown on immigrants.
But the court said Monday that one part of the law requiring police to check the status of someone they suspect is not in the United States legally could go forward. Even there, though, the justices said the provision could be subject to additional legal challenges.
The decision clears the way for a federal court in Atlanta to rule on Georgia’s illegal immigration law.
Here are the sections of Arizona's immigration law considered by the U.S. Supreme Court:
— A requirement that police, while enforcing other laws, question people's immigration status if officers have reasonable suspicion they're in the country illegally.
— A requirement that all immigrants obtain or carry immigration registration papers.
— A provision making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job.
— A provision that would allow police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.
Like Arizona, Georgia has been waiting for a ruling on whether the police can check the immigration status of people they have stopped for another offense.
Michelle LaPointe with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Atlanta is one of the attorneys suing over Georgia’s so-called “show me your papers” law.
She says even though the court upheld Arizona’s provision, it didn’t rule out future cases on its constitutionality.
“I think the court is actually inviting in a sense challenges to the way this law could be applied on the ground and we are prepared to make those challenges to the state’s law in a manner that they are executed is unconstitutional,” she said.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens say they see Monday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration law as recognizing that states have an important role in enforcing federal immigration law. Representatives for Olens and Deal said they wouldn't be available for interviews.
Georgia was one of 16 states that filed a brief in the Arizona case. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a provision that requires police to check the immigration status of someone they suspect is not in the country legally.
Julianne Thompson with the Tea Party Patriots, who support Georgia's immigration law, saw victory in the court upholding this provision.
“We are a nation of laws and when people violate those laws, there are consequences to those violations,” she said.
Judges with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta are next expected to solicit motions from both sides of the Georgia case, and will likely rule later this year.