The US Supreme Court has upheld a controversial element of the state of Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants in a ruling set to ignite political debate in the run up to the presidential election.
Barack Obama had criticised Arizona for trying to bring in racial profiling under the guise of a law ostensibly aimed at protecting the state’s borders.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has accused Obama of interfering in state legislation.
Under the Supreme Court ruling police officers will be able allowed to check the immigration status of people they stop while enforcing other laws.
However, three other clauses which were challenged by Obama; one requiring immigrants to carry proof of their status at all times, another banning undocumented workers from applying for jobs and a third allowing police to stop people simply because they look like illegal immigrants.
All three were rejected by the court.