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Utah Responds to Supreme Court's Ruling on AZ Immigration Law

Creative Commons

Utah’s top law enforcement official says Monday’s Supreme Court ruling striking down much of Arizona’s illegal immigration enforcement law is mostly a win for Utah’s HB 497, a similar law currently tied up in federal court. But as Jeff Robinson reports, immigration advocates still think it will be struck down.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff notes the Supreme Court ruling allows local law enforcement to verify the immigration status of suspects -- for now at least. Utah’s HB 497 requires police to do so for felonies and Class A misdemeanors, but makes it optional for less serious crimes.

Attorney General Shurtleff: "So in Utah we believe that because ours is substantially different, our verification will go forward."

But the ACLU of Utah says the ruling makes it clear the tide is turning against the Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act, which it has challenged in federal court.

Local immigration attorney Mark Alvarez believes the ruling indicates the supreme court will tolerate the states playing a role in immigration, but not much of one:

"While politicians have made a big deal about states assuming authority over immigration, the lawyers have been very specific. this is a very limited authority...if it even exists."

One thing both sides agree on: the litigation is far from over. A temporary restraining order has blocked HB 497 from going into effect in Utah for the time being.