In Arizona: The Supreme Court's decision to preserve the "show me your papers" provision in Arizona's immigration law means the state can enforce that part of the statute, but only with the help of its chief critic: the federal government. Federal immigration officers will help, but only if doing so conforms to the Homeland Security Department's priorities, including catching repeat violators and identifying and removing those who threaten public safety and national security, the department said Monday. If federal agents decline to pick up immigrants stopped by police, the state doesn't have any way to force federal authorities to do so and will likely have to let them go unless they're suspected of committing a crime that would require them to be brought to jail, said Peter Spiro, a Temple University law professor.
In other states: On the basis of the ruling, five other states that have already passed similar "show-me-your-papers" laws -- Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah -- should be able to defeat some of the challenges they faced from civil rights groups, which have held up those laws in the courts. But the Supreme Court's carefully etched decision also gave opponents of Arizona's law a clear affirmation of the primary role of the federal government. The court also allowed, and even invited, lawsuits against Arizona's law that are based squarely on civil rights claims that it would lead to racial profiling against Hispanics and other immigrants.
In the presidential campaign: Mitt Romney's bid for stronger support in the Hispanic community, already wounded by his tough talk about illegal immigration, faces new challenges because of the decision.