Supreme Court Takes Up Arizona Immigration Law

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Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer at a press conference following the US Supreme Court’s announcement to hear challenges to SB 1070.
Source: Matt York, AP, Dec. 12, 2011

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear a challenge next year to SB 1070, Arizona’s Apr. 23, 2010 anti-illegal immigration law.

A controversial provision of the Arizona law, which requires Arizona police to question people “reasonably suspect” of being undocumented, was blocked by US District Judge Susan Bolton on July 28, 2010 after the Obama administration challenged the law, arguing that immigration enforcement is the domain of the federal government. Judge Bolton ruled that the federal government, not the states, is responsible for immigration enforcement.

Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the Dec. 12, 2011 decision for the Supreme Court to hear Arizona v. U.S., No. 11-182, which suggests that she will not participate in the final ruling.

The ruling is expected to have implications for other states that have also passed tough immigration laws, including South Carolina, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Utah. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said in a Dec. 12, 2011 statement, “Decades of federal inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation, and states deserve clarity from the court in terms of what role they have in fighting illegal immigration.”

On May 26, 2011, the US Supreme Court upheld in a 5-3 vote (Kagan recused herself from this case as well) a different Arizona immigration law which penalizes businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

More than one million people have been deported since Jan. 2009 when President Obama took office. An estimated 10,750,000 undocumented immigrants live in the United States, making up 3.5% of the total US population.

Sources:

Adam Liptak, “Court to Weigh Arizona Statute on Immigration,” New York Times, Dec. 12, 2011

“Arizona Can’t Argue Crime Rise in Its Supreme Court Immigration Case: View,” Bloomberg, Dec. 13, 2011

Stephen Dinan, “High Court to Consider Ariz. Migrant Law,” The Washington Times, Dec. 12, 2011