Supreme Court will hear arguments April 25 in Arizona immigration case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on April 25 in Arizona v. United States, the controversial case surrounding Arizona’s S.B. 1070, a state law that requires, among other things, the following actions in Arizona:

  • Police who make any stop or arrest, and who have a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is in the United States without permission, must determine whether the person has a right to be in the United States, and if police arrest a person, they may not release them until the person’s legal status has been verified by the federal government.
  • Any person in Arizona who is not a United States Citizen must obtain and carry documents proving legal status.  Any such person who does not do so is guilty of a crime.
  • Any undocumented person who applies for a job or works in Arizona is guilty of a crime.
  • Police are authorized to arrest without a warrant any person whom the officer believes has committed a crime that would subject the person to deportation, even if the crime was committed outside Arizona.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has blocked these 4 provisions.  The State of Arizona appealed the Ninth Circuit’s decision, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will not be taking part in deciding the case.  That means that only 8 Justices will decide the case.  In the event of a 4-4 split, the Ninth Circuit’s decision will stand.

The case sets up a showdown of sorts between Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who contends that S.B. 1070 is simply an attempt to allow Arizona law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration officials, and the Obama Administration, which contends that Arizona has attempted to write its own immigration laws – something that only the federal government has the power to do.

Arizona legislature defeats anti-immigrant bills

In the Arizona state legislature, a group of state senate Republicans joined Democrats in defeating a series of anti-immigrant bills.

Leading the drive against the bills were many of Arizona’s largest employers, who signed a letter to a top Arizona legislator explaining their opposition to the bills.

“Arizona’s lawmakers and citizens are right to be concerned about illegal immigration. But we must acknowledge that when Arizona goes it alone on this issue, unintended consequences inevitably occur,” the letter states.

“It is an undeniable fact that each of our companies and our employees were impacted by the boycotts and the coincident negative image.”

Here is a link to the article.

New York Times Editorial: Citizenship by birth and assimilation are fundamental American values

The New York Times published an editorial titled “Angry Arizona, Again.”  Here is the editorial in its entirety:

Many states are doing urgent business: jobs, the economy, broken budgets. Arizona’s legislators are trying to give government new powers to strip away individual rights, to extend immigration enforcement into schools, public housing, hospitals and doctor’s offices.

Arizona made itself ground zero for a new nativism last year with a radical policing law that encouraged racial profiling and declared the mass expulsion of undocumented immigrants to be official state policy. This led to boycotts, slumping tourism and convention business, and lawsuits, including one by the Obama administration. Yet Arizona’s current legislative session is overstuffed with nativist bills, several of which passed through committee on Tuesday in an “omnibus” measure.

They include:

A bill to chop up the 14th Amendment to deny citizenship to children born in Arizona to undocumented mothers. A bill requiring hospitals to check every patient’s citizenship status, turning doctors and nurses into the immigration police. A bill to deny education to undocumented children by requiring proof of citizenship to enroll in any public or private school. A bill to criminalize driving by illegal immigrants, and to evict them from public housing. This will fix nothing, and do real harm.

The birthright citizenship bill interprets the 14th Amendment in a way no federal court or Congress ever has. The state would issue a different type of birth certificate to babies whose parents lack papers. It’s a nonexistent problem; women are not sneaking over the border to have babies who — when they turn 21 — may be able to sponsor them for green cards. The plan will not drive away illegal immigrants, but it would turn generations of young Americans into deportable criminals.

The Supreme Court has ruled that undocumented children have a right to primary education, because the country is not served by perpetuating an illiterate underclass. And yet Arizona’s elected leaders persist in their assault on that principle. The bills’ sponsors don’t seem to care about the damage they do. They are bent on inflaming the anxieties in a changing country, even when crime is down in border cities and immigration has tapered off. New Census data shows America’s population growing more slowly than it has since the 1930s — another era of rampant bigotry and racial scapegoating.

We hope the angry Arizonans, and the rest of the country, will soon return to their values. Citizenship by birth and assimilation of newcomers are central to the American experiment. All that separates our newest immigrants from previous waves is the lack of a working system to assimilate them.

Here is a link to the editorial.