PHOENIX -- It's the Supreme Court decision Arizona has been waiting for, and it looks like we're going to have to wait at least a few more days, possibly a week.
Some had thought the justices might issue their ruling on SB 1070, Arizona's tough immigration law, Monday, but that did not happen. The earliest that decision might come is Thursday although many think it will not be until next Monday, the last opportunity before the court adjourns for its summer break.
Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070, authored by recalled state Sen. Russell Pearce, into law two years ago, touching off a series of protests and legal battles.
The strictest anti illegal-immigration law in the country, SB 1070 went into effect in late July 2010, but only partially. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked several key components of the law.
On April 25, the court heard arguments on the sections of the controversial law that were put on hold by the lower courts. Those include:
- The section requiring non-citizens to carry "alien registration papers" at all times;
- The provision allowing the state of Arizona the authority to prosecute for the crime of illegal immigration, currently a federal crime;
- The section requiring police officers in Arizona to ask suspected criminals or traffic violators about their immigration status, when they have "reasonable suspicion" that the person is here illegally;
- The provision making it a crime for undocumented immigrants to seek work or apply for jobs.
Protesters gathered both in Washington and in Arizona as justices heard attorneys for both sides argue their points.
Arizona contends that with its 370-mile border with Mexico, it has paid a disproportionate price for illegal immigration. It says its 2010 law is consistent with federal immigration policy.
The administration says the law, and Arizona's approach of maximum enforcement, conflict with a more nuanced federal immigration policy that seeks to balance national security, law enforcement, foreign policy, human rights and the rights of law-abiding citizens and immigrants.
Associated Press writer Mark Sherman contributed to this report.