High court's stance could spur immigration laws

Court Watch Posted on

Emboldened by signals that the U.S. Supreme Court may uphold parts of Arizona's immigration law, legislators and activists across the country say they are gearing up to push for similar get-tough measures in their states.

"We're getting our national network ready to run with the ball, and saturate state legislatures with versions of the law," said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration. "We believe we can pass it in most states."

That goal may be a stretch, but lawmakers in about a dozen states told The Associated Press they were interested in proposing Arizona-style laws if its key components are upheld by the Supreme Court. A ruling is expected in June on the Department of Justice's appeal that the law conflicts with federal immigration policy.

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said he was encouraged that several justices suggested during Wednesday's oral arguments that they are ready to let Arizona enforce the most controversial part of its law — a requirement that police officers check the immigration status of people they suspect are in the country illegally.

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