In a statement released a short time ago, President Obama says he is “pleased” with today’s Supreme Court ruling striking down much of Arizona’s immigration law, but adds that he remains “concerned” about the law’s “papers please” provision, which remains in effect pending further judicial review.
“No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like,” Obama said. “Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes.”
President Obama said that we need a national immigration policy, not a “patchwork” of state-level policies. He said he was eager to work with anyone in Congress, no matter the party, to achieve a long-term solution. As long as Congress fails to act, however, President Obama said he will focus the federal government’s law enforcement resources on “border security and criminals who endanger our communities”—not on otherwise law-abiding DREAM Act kids.
You can read President Obama’s full statement here. Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee responded to the ruling earlier by blaming the nation’s immigration policy stalemate on the president.
While I am pleased the Court confirmed the serious constitutional questions the government raised regarding Section 2, I remain concerned about the impact of Section 2, which requires law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of any person lawfully stopped or detained when they have reason to suspect that the person is here unlawfully. As the Court itself recognized, Section 2 is not a license to engage in racial profiling and I want to assure communities around this country that the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce federal prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination. We will closely monitor the impact of S.B. 1070 to ensure compliance with federal immigration law and with applicable civil rights laws, including ensuring that law enforcement agencies and others do not implement the law in a manner that has the purpose or effect of discriminating against the Latino or any other community.
We will also work to ensure that the verification provision does not divert police officers away from traditional law enforcement efforts in order to enforce federal immigration law, potentially impairing local policing efforts and discouraging crime victims, including children of non-citizens, victims of domestic violence, and asylum seekers, from reporting abuses and crimes out of fear of detention or deportation. We will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans.”