The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case, Arizona v. United States<, concerning whether Arizona can impose its own stringent immigration law, given that immigration enforcement is typically under the purview of the federal government.Arizona’s SB 1070 mandates that police investigate and detain anyone believed to be undocumented and make arrests without warrants if they believe that the person has committed a crime that would make them deportable. After Arizona passed the law last year, the Obama Administration filed a lawsuit to block four provisions of the law.
In October, US District Court Judge Susan Bolton dismissed Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s (R) lawsuit against the federal government charging it with inadequate enforcement of immigration laws. Judge Bolton indicated that the state cannot sue the federal government over immigration enforcement because immigration law is the jurisdiction of Congress, not the courts. She stated, “It is well-settled that federal response to insurrection and rebellion in the states is appropriately determined by the political branches.”
In July, Judge Bolton ruled against multiple sections of the Arizona law, including a requirement that police check the immigration status of criminal suspects that they had stopped while enforcing other laws and a provision that would make it a crime not to carry immigration papers. She also ruled against a section that would make it a crime for undocumented workers to seek a job.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself from the case likely because she was working as Solicitor General in 2010 at the time the US decided to sue the state of Arizona.
New York Times 12/12/11; Huffington Post 12/12/11
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