Immigration News: US Supreme Court issues ruling in the Arizona v. United States case

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Ruling in the Case Arizona v. United States

The Supreme Court of the United States reached a landmark decision in the case of Arizona v. United States on the issue of illegal immigration. The case centers on Arizona's "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" and the question of whether Arizona overstepped its state authority in enforcing the Act. In a split opinion, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 3 that three of the four sections of this immigration Act preempted state law. The Supreme Court ruled that Arizona operated outside of its state authority on the issue of immigration in one of the United States most controversial cases in the history of the United States.

The Constitution of the United States grants the power to make decisions on immigration and naturalization issues to Congress only. It is unconstitutional for states to enact laws that supersede the authority of Federal Law. Arizona law makers created the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" in 2010 against the preemptive law to deal with an influx of illegal immigrants the state could not afford. During the course of this year, an estimated 470,000 aliens entered Arizona illegally putting a significant strain on the state's economy. According to a 2010 report by Fox News, the illegal aliens cost the State $2.7 billion dollars through education costs, health care services, law enforcement and court expenses, welfare payments, and general expenses.

Arizona's 2010 Immigration Act orders immigrants to carry immigration papers at all times and gives police the authority to verify the legal status of individuals when they feel there is reasonable suspicion that the individuals are illegal aliens. The "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" makes it a state crime for anyone to be in the country illegally. The Act also makes it a state offense for illegal immigrants to apply for and accept employment in Arizona.

In the landmark immigration case, four provisions from the law were on appeal: Section 2(B),the provision authorizing local law enforcement to determine the immigration status of any person lawfully stopped on "reasonable suspicion" that they're in Arizona illegally; Section 3 criminalized the federal civil violation of being present in the country without registration documents; Section 5(C) criminalized any person without federal work authorization from seeking work or working in Arizona; and Section 6 authorizes local law enforcement to arrest without a warrant any person they have probable cause to believe committed an offense punishable by deportation.

The Supreme Court ruled against three portions of Arizona's encroaching law: criminalizing the failure to register for citizenship; authorizing local police to arrest without a warrant; and criminalizing those unauthorized immigrants from soliciting or working in the state. The Court deferred ruling on Section 2 (B) of the Act as it must determine whether or not the immigration paper requirement interferes with Federal law.

Although a final ruling has been issued in the case of immigration in Arizona v. United States, the decision is not a win for either party. The State of Arizona will now be denied the means to deter the number of illegal immigrants entering its financially strapped borders. With the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" out of commission, even more immigrants will enter the state. Additional expenses will arise from the number of illegal aliens obtaining work in the state illegally. Public schools will continue to be over crowded with students who do not speak English. The state's already overwrought health care and welfare systems must accommodate the aliens. While the Federal Government maintains its authority in matters of immigration with the decision, it leaves the State of Arizona without a workable solution on how to manage the immigrant situation.

While the ruling against the State of Arizona is hailed as a victory for Hispanics, the Supreme Court did nothing to address the human rights of immigrants. By deferring a decision on the "Papers Please" section of the Arizona Law; 2 (B), both legal and illegal immigrants will be subject to detainment and search without a warrant because they are Hispanic. Many civil rights supporters claim that this section of the law leads to racial profiling in the State of Arizona and could lead to human rights violations against the immigrants. This section of the Arizona law may violate the rights of those Hispanics in the country legally who would be protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Coincidentally, in this election year, the Latino vote is highly coveted by both Democrats and Republicans. It is estimated that 21.5 million Latino citizens will be eligible to vote in November 2012. Newly naturalized citizens and Latinos turning 18 are adding half a million new potential voters each year. The Latino vote can impact election results in states such as New Mexico, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado in 2012 and years to come. The Wall Street Journal reported two days after the historic ruling that President Obama's approval rating with Hispanics reached 90% The timing of this landmark decision suggests that the issue has little to do with the state of affairs in Arizona or the welfare of immigrants coming to the United States.

Other states with similar immigration policies are now preparing for a federal review of their laws. State governments in Utah, Indiana, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina will be studying the Supreme Court's decision to see how their own laws may be impacted.

Last reviewed on: 06/26/2012
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