Supreme Court voids most of Arizona immigration law but upholds ‘show-me-papers’ requirement
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A divided Supreme Court threw out major parts of Arizona’s tough crackdown on illegal immigrants Monday in a ruling sure to reverberate through the November elections. The justices unanimously approved the law’s most-discussed provision -- requiring police to check the immigration status of those they stop for other reasons -- but limited the consequences.
Although upholding the "show me your papers" requirement, which some critics say could lead to ethnic profiling, the justices struck down provisions that created state crimes allowing local police to arrest people for federal immigration violations. And they warned against detaining people for any prolonged period merely for not having proper immigration papers.
The mixed outcome vindicated the Obama administration’s aggressive challenge to laws passed by Arizona and the five states -- Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah -- that followed its lead in attempting to deal with illegal immigration in the face of federal inaction on comprehensive reform.
The administration had assailed the Arizona law as an unconstitutional intrusion into an area under federal control.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, joined in his majority opinion by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts as well as three liberal justices, said the
Analysis: Arizona ruling hurts Romney’s bid to
focus Hispanic pitch on jobs, not immigration
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Mitt Romney wants to improve his troubled standing among Hispanic voters while saying as little as possible about immigration. Events keep working against him.
The Supreme Court’s ruling Monday on Arizona’s immigration law, coming 10 days after President Barack Obama’s announcement that allows some illegal immigrants to stay in the country, is the latest instance. Romney’s cautious comments on the court decision underscored his discomfort with a topic that squeezes him between conflicting goals.
He needs to fire up his conservative base, where anti-immigration sentiments run strong. But Romney also needs to reduce Obama’s sizeable advantage among Hispanic voters.
Immigration is certainly not the only issue that matters to Hispanics, and Romney is trying to appeal to them by focusing on the economy. That’s their No. 1 issue, as it is with other voter groups. But many Hispanics resent what they see as racial and social overtones in some Republicans’ denunciations of people who crossed the Mexican border illegally.
Europe officials say al-Qaida-trained Norwegian is ready for an attack on West
STOCKHOLM (AP) -- A Norwegian man has received terrorist training from al-Qaida’s offshoot in Yemen and is awaiting orders to carry out an attack on the West, officials from three European security agencies told The Associated Press on Monday.
Western intelligence officials have long feared such a scenario -- a convert to Islam who is trained in terrorist methods and can blend in easily in Europe and the United States, traveling without visa restrictions.
Officials from three European security agencies confirmed Monday the man is "operational," meaning he has completed his training and is about to receive a target. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly. They declined to name the man, who has not been accused of a crime.
"We believe he is operational and he is probably about to get his target," one security official said. "And that target is probably in the West."
A security official in a second European country confirmed the information, adding: "From what I understand, a specific target has not been established."
Syrian soldiers defect to Turkey, latest to abandon President Bashar Assad
BEIRUT (AP) -- The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad suffered an embarrassing string of high-ranking defections, with dozens of soldiers, including senior officers, reported to have fled to neighboring Turkey, officials said Monday.
The crisis also deepened in the region when Turkey’s deputy prime minister said Syrian forces opened fire on a second Turkish plane that was searching for the wreckage of a jet shot down last week by Damascus.
Turkey said it would push NATO to consider Syria’s downing of the Turkish jet as an attack on the whole military alliance, and NATO’s governing body is to meet Tuesday to discuss the incident. It’s unlikely, however, that the alliance will take armed action against Syria.
Since the Syrian uprising began last year, thousands of soldiers, most of them low-level conscripts, have deserted and joined the rebels. High-level defections appear to be increasing.
According to a Turkish Foreign Ministry official, a brigadier-general defected to Turkey in recent days. If confirmed, it would be one of the highest-level defections. Gen. Mostafa Ahmad al-Sheik, who fled to Turkey in January, was the highest-ranking officer to bolt at the time.
Tropical Storm Debby soaks Florida’s Gulf Coast; a 2-foot drenching is possible in some spots
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Practically parked off Florida’s Gulf Coast since the weekend, Tropical Storm Debby raked the Tampa Bay area with high wind and heavy rain Monday in a drenching that could top 2 feet over the next few days and trigger widespread flooding.
At least one person was killed Sunday by a tornado spun off by Debby in Florida, and Alabama authorities searched for a man who disappeared in the rough surf.
An estimated 35,000 homes and businesses lost electricity. But as of midafternoon, the slow-moving storm had caused only scattered damage, including flooding in some low-lying areas.
The bridge leading to St. George Island, a vacation spot along the Florida Panhandle, was closed to everyone except residents, renters and business owners to keep looters out. The island had no power, and palm trees had been blown down, but roads were passable.
"Most true islanders are hanging in there because they know that you may or may not be able to get back to your home when you need to," said David Walker, an island resident having a beer at Eddy Teach’s bar. He said he had been through many storms on the island and Debby was on the weaker end of the scale.
Experts say 32-pound,
10-year-old Mo. girl
found locked in closet
faces a long recovery
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A severely malnourished 10-year-old Kansas City girl who was found locked in a closet remained hospitalized Monday and likely faces an extended recovery after an initial "failure to thrive" diagnosis, experts said.
Police found the 32-pound girl Friday after responding to a call from a child abuse hotline. She was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital on Friday and remained there Monday, said Mike Mansur, spokesman for the Jackson County prosecutor’s office. He said the child’s condition hasn’t been released.
"The next few months of her life are going to be pretty critical to her recovery," said Ann Thomas, a vice president at The Children’s Place, a Kansas City nonprofit that is not involved in this case but treats young children who have experienced trauma.
The child’s 29-year-old mother appeared in Jackson County court Monday. She was shackled at the wrists and quietly listened as a judge read the felony charges against her -- assault, child abuse and endangerment. The judge also entered a not guilty plea for the woman, who was ordered held on $200,000 cash bond. She requested a public defender for her next court appearance, scheduled for July 12.
The Associated Press is not naming the mother to protect the child’s identity. The mother’s two other children, ages 2 and 8, have also been placed in protective custody, Mansur said. Police also questioned the mother’s boyfriend, but he has not been charged. Mansur said the investigation is ongoing.
Defense lawyer: Ex-Penn St. assistant Sandusky
wants ‘people to know
that he’s not guilty’
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) -- Jerry Sandusky wants "people to know that he’s not guilty," a lawyer for the retired Penn State assistant football coach said Monday.
Sandusky -- once considered Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno’s heir apparent -- was convicted Friday of 45 counts for sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.
Karl Rominger, who helped defend the 68-year-old retired defensive coach, visited him at the Centre County jail, where he is being kept under observation and away from other inmates pending a psychological review that will help determine the next step toward his sentencing, which is in about three months.
"He’s defiant and wants the truth to be told. He wants people to know that he’s not guilty," Rominger said. "That would be his hope."
Also Monday, Judge John Cleland ordered county probation officers to evaluate whether Sandusky is a sexual predator, a finding that could be a factor in his prison placement. Such orders are pro forma in sex abuse cases. Sex offenders are required to undergo treatment while in prison, so Sandusky, if deemed a predator, would likely be sent to a facility with such a program.