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Villaraigosa: High court immigration ruling a 'partial victory'

June 25, 2012 |  2:30 pm

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at press conference on June 19.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Monday on immigration “only a partial victory” after the justices struck down three key provisions of a controversial Arizona law.

In the highly anticipated ruling, the Supreme Court said Monday the federal government has the sole power to enforce laws against illegal immigration. As such, the high court struck down parts of Arizona's SB 1070 that made it a state crime for illegal immigrants to seek work and not carry immigration papers. The justices also blocked a provision that gave the police authority to arrest immigrants for crimes that may lead to deportation.

But the justices also cleared the way for state officials to begin enforcing a provision that calls on police, when making lawful stops, to check the immigration status of people who may be in the country illegally.

While acknowledging that he was "heartened" by the overall thrust of the decision, Villaraigosa called the “papers please” provision, the most “problematic and potentially most harmful section” of the law. 

“By requiring police officers to demand documents of anyone they suspect of being in the country without authorization, Arizona risks creating a culture of fear and suspicion,” Villaraigosa said in a statement. “Implementation of the law will undermine the trust between the police and the public, driving a wedge between police officers and the community they serve.

"The 'papers please' provision opens the door for racial profiling, and I believe it will be impossible to implement this law without discrimination," he continued. "This will just invite further litigation.”

The decision comes shortly after the Obama administration announced it would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and who do not pose a security threat.

Monday’s decision shined additional light on immigration reform, and in his statement, Villaraigosa urged Congress to “pass the Dream Act" and "enact comprehensive immigration reform.”

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-- Matt Stevens

Twitter.com/mattstevenslat

Photo: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at press conference on June 19. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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