The Obama administration said Monday it is suspending existing agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws, and said it has issued a directive telling federal authorities to decline many of the calls reporting illegal immigrants that the Homeland Security Department may get from Arizona police.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Arizona may not impose its own penalties for immigration violations, but said state and local police to check the legal status of those they have reasonable suspicion are in the country illegally.
That means police statewide can immediately begin calling to check immigration status — but federal officials are likely to reject most of those calls. Federal officials said they’ll still perform the checks as required by law, but will only respond when someone has a felony conviction on his or her record. Absent that, ICE will tell the local police to release the person.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said the court’s decision frees police up to perform immigration checks. In anticipation of the ruling she had issued an executive order calling for guidance to be issued to every police department on how to fairly carry out the law.
But the Obama administration is under pressure from immigrant-rights groups to cut down on the number of people it is deporting, and has taken a number of steps to try to limit deportations of rank-and-file illegal immigrants and focus instead on those with criminal records or repeated immigration violations...