Supreme Court to Hear Arizona Immigration Case

By Coleman, Carolyn | Nation's Cities Weekly, December 19, 2011 | Go to article overview

Supreme Court to Hear Arizona Immigration Case


Coleman, Carolyn, Nation's Cities Weekly


As Congress continues to find itself mired in partisan politics and an inability to resolve disagreements, the U.S. Supreme Court is on track to have one of its most historically significant terms settling disputes on a wide range of controversial issues.

Last week, the Supreme Court decided to weigh in on the constitutionality of states' rights to limit the way undocumented immigrants live in the United States. At the center of that controversy is Arizona's immigration law (also known as S.B. 1070) that addresses state law enforcement related to illegal immigration.

Specifically the Arizona law: (1) requires police to determine if an individual has a legal right to be in the U.S. if the officer has reasonable suspicion of illegality upon making an arrest or a stop; (2) makes it a crime under state law to fail to obtain and carry immigration papers as required by the Immigration Naturalization Act (INA); (3) makes it a misdemeanor for a undocumented immigrant to apply for a job or work in Arizona; and (4) allows police to arrest a person the officer has probable cause to believe has committed a crime that would make the person subject to deportation.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070 into law in April 2010. However, before it went into effect, the U.S. Department of Justice sought a temporary injunction to prevent the law from taking effect until it received a full review from the courts.

The injunction was granted in an opinion holding that immigration matters were the exclusive domain of the federal government and that the four provisions of S.B. 1070 were unconstitutional because they intruded upon this domain.

Arizona appealed the grant of the injunction to the Ninth U. …

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