Nightly News | April 25, 2012
>>> good evening. tonight at the supreme court , an emotional debate that is playing out across the country. who is allowed to be here? how far can police go to protect the borders if they have reason to believe someone is here illegally? the case argued before the court involved a case in arizona . but five other states have similar laws, so the court's decision on this one will have a national impact. our justice correspondent pete williams starting us off tonight at the supreme court . pete, good evening.
>> brian, the most controversial parts of the arizona law were immediately challenged in kourbt and blocked, but judging from today's argument, the state may soon be able to start enforcing some of them. outside the court today, demonstrators loudly conveyed the emotion generated by the immigration battle. frustrated by what it considered lax federal enforcement and illegal immigrants screaming across the border to stay, arizona decided to get tougher.
>> we needed protection for the citizens of arizona and what arizona was experiencing as far as the cost element in education and health care and incarceration.
>> a state law passed two years ago, required police making arrests or traffic stopped to check the immigration status of anyone suspected of being here illegally and detain them until their status was verified. the obama administration sued, arguing that arizona bolled its way into an area of federal responsibility.
>> it's really a matter of whether we want to be a single nation or have 50 different nations each with their own immigration policy .
>> the federal government said it's concentrating on the most dangerous illegal immigrants , those who commit crimes and arizona would flood the system with anyone who failed to have the right papers, but today, a majority of the court seemed to have no problem in police checking the status of people arrested and releasing them if federal authorities don't want them held. it seems to me, chief justice john roberts said, the federal government just doesn't want to know who is here illegally or not. what does sovereignty mean it f doesn't include the ability to protect the borders. stephen breyer said the law could be up felt if status checked but not detain people longer than other people after a routine arrest, and after a lawyer said it would lead to harassment of latinos, sonya sote omeyer said you can see that argument is not selling very well. two other parts of the arizona law did not seem to fare as well today. they would make it a state crime for illegal ilgrnts to look for war or to fail to carry federally required papers.