Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Arizona Immigration Law
The fight over Arizona's immigration law, which requires people suspected of being illegal immigrants to show their papers on request, has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court Justices listened to arguments from the state of Arizona and the U.S. Government Wednesday morning.
At issue for the court is whether Arizona has exceeded its authority to enforce immigration law, which is the job of the federal government. The Arizona law (SB 1070), which was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer two years ago, lets the state take enforcement into its own hands.
According to the Wall Street Journal, initial reports from the hearings suggest that the Court "seemed inclined to allow at least one provision of Arizona’s tough anti-immigration law." WSJ is posting live updates of the oral arguments on its blog.
Arizona argues that it has become necessary to make its own enforcement rules because it is disproportionately affected by the government's "broken" immigration system. Its 370 mile border with Mexico has seen more illegal crossings, equaling about a third of the illegal entries into the country over the last decade, it argues.
The state of Arizona stated in its argument summary (pdf), "despite Congress’ manifest resolution that “the immigration laws of the United States should be enforced vigorously and uniformly,” in the last decade federal enforcement efforts have focused primarily on areas in California and Texas, leaving Arizona’s border to suffer from comparative neglect. The result has been the funneling of an increasing tide of illegal border crossings into Arizona."
The Obama administration argues that the Arizona law cuts against the federal government's mandate for the entire country to have a uniform immigration enforcement policy.
"For each State, and each locality, to set its own immigration policy in that fashion would wholly subvert Congress’s goal: a single, national approach," the U.S. Government argued in its brief on the case (pdf).
The High Court is expected to reach a decision this summer.