WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has blocked Alabama from enforcing a state law that authorized the police to arrest and jail persons who hid or transported illegal immigrants.
By an 8-1 vote, the justices let stand lower court rulings that said enforcing the immigration laws is the job of the federal government, not the states.
Those rulings in turn were based on last year’s Supreme Court ruling that threw out most of Arizona’s strict immigration enforcement law.
Alabama’s state attorney appealed to the high court earlier this year and argued that last year’s decision in the Arizona case did not deal with a provision involving the transporting or concealing of illegal immigrants. But the justices refused to hear the appeal in Alabama vs. United States.
The court’s action is a victory for the Obama administration, which had urged the justices to block the state’s law. It is a setback for several states, including South Carolina and Utah, which had adopted similar measures.
Justice Antonin Scalia noted his dissent.