Yesterday, the SCOTUS struck down key provisions of the AZ immigration law. While they allowed part of it stand, the general consensus is that the law has been seriously scaled back.
Today, a number of articles are still coming out that detail some of the interesting implications of the law. In particular, this one explains how the ruling will likely mean big money for private prison companies. This has been an issue in debates before. Just how much influence do these companies have over immigration policy. After all, these companies make money almost entirely from states who pay them based on how many inmates they have. These companies have a vested interested in keeping their prisons full longer, and in having a steady stream of easy-to-convict people to replace those who inevitably have to leave. That's why illegal immigrants are so great.
Illegal immigrants come to America at a pretty good clip. I don't know what the most recent estimates are, but they certainly reach into the hundreds of thousands. Technically, each one of those individuals is a lawbreaker, meaning they could be imprisoned, which makes the prison company money. Prison companies, therefore, want to strike a balance between laws and regulations. They want laws that will allow strict sentencing of illegals so they are sent to prison more and stay longer. But, they don't want any policy that is too effective at preventing illegal immigration or that prevents illegals from being imprisoned.
The recent ruling on AZ immigration is a good one because it keeps a key provision (the "show me your papers" bit) which will allow police to question the citizenship of any individual they stop for another reason. In context, that's pretty relaxed policy; some European countries require citizens and foreigners to carry identification at all times, and can demand to see it at any time. But what the rule means is that these prisons will have an easier time tapping into this money-making population.
Imagine what would happen if the prison lobby were not able to push legislation in their favor? What would the outcome be? Would we have tighter border security? Would we have prisons that weren't overfull with inmates? Would we have more rehabilitation rather than retaliation for lawbreakers? Possibly. But as long as money is involved, you can bet there won't be any serious progress made in the area of immigration reform.