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Arizona Immigration Law Debate Arrives at the Supreme Court

Apr 24, 2012 | Arizona immigration law, federal court, Supreme Court Litigation

On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in the case of Arizona v. US (11-182).

Federal courts have blocked four key parts of Arizona’s “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” known as SB 1070.  At issue is whether states have any authority to step in to enforce immigration matters or whether that is the exclusive role of the federal government.

Arizona has argued that illegal immigration is creating economic hardships and safety concerns for its residents, and that the federal government has failed to control the problem.  The Obama administration has argued that immigration matters are federal matters best left to the appropriate agencies as opposed to individual states creating laws.

The four Arizona provisions being challenged are:

(1)  A requirement that local police officers check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws, if “reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is in the United States illegally.

(2) A provision authorizing police to arrest immigrants without warrant where “probable cause” exists that they committed any public offense making them removable from the country.

(3) A section making it a state crime for “unauthorized immigrants” to fail to carry registration papers and other government identification.

(4) A ban on those not authorized for employment in the United States to apply, solicit or perform work.  That would include immigrants standing in a parking lot who “gesture or nod” their willingness to be employed.

After the oral arguments on April 25, 2012, a ruling in the case is expected in late June.

Sources: CNN, MSNBC, LA Times

Ruchi Thaker