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Concerns Remain Over 'Show Your Papers' Provision

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President Obama offered a mixed review of the Supreme Court's mixed decision in the Arizona immigration case. He said he was pleased that most of the law was struck down, but still concerned that the "show me your papers" provision stood. The president campaigned this afternoon in New Hampshire. All Things Considered host Audie Cornish talks with NPR's Scott Horsley from the rally site with more on Mr. Obama's remarks.


President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, responded to the high court's immigration ruling today. With immigration playing a high-profile role in the presidential election this year, both campaigns are heavily courting the Latino vote. President Obama offered up only a written statement which contained a mixed review.

He said he was generally pleased, but expressed concern about the "show me your papers" provision. Romney said the whole matter pointed to the need for presidential leadership. We're joined now by two of our political reporters, starting with Scott Horsley who's in New Hampshire with the president. And Scott, it was the administration that had challenged Arizona's law. Does Mr. Obama feel like today's ruling is a vindication?

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: I think on balance, the White House is pleased with the ruling today. The president said that this shows very clearly that a patchwork of state-by-state laws doesn't work when it comes to immigration. That's why it's reserved for federal authority. And he, again, renewed his promise to work with Congress on a comprehensive plan.

Of course, he's had little success in getting a plan like that over Republican opposition in the Senate, which is why he had to take executive action earlier this month when it comes to illegal immigrants who came to this country as children saying they'll be allowed to stay in the country at least temporarily.

CORNISH: What does the White House say about the fact that people who are stopped by the law in Arizona could still be questioned about their immigration status and made to show proof that they're in the country legally?

HORSLEY: Well, that is the part of the ruling that the White House is, of course, concerned about, and the president said in a statement that his administration will continue to monitor the enforcement of that closely for any sign of racial profiling. No American should live under a cloud of suspicion because of what they look like, the president said.

At the same time, the Latino groups that Melissa mentioned who are going to also be monitoring this, some of those Latino groups are busy gathering voter registrations and they plan to use the fact that that piece of the law was upheld as a rallying cry. President Obama enjoys a big advantage over Mitt Romney with Latino votes so that could actually rebound in his favor this November.

CORNISH: NPR's Scott Horsley, traveling with the president. Thanks, Scott.

HORSLEY: Good to be with you.

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