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The US Supreme Court heard arguments on SB 1070, Arizona’s anti-illegal immigrant law known as the “show me your papers” law on April 25, 2012. This SB 1070 allows police officers to stop and detain individuals unless a proof of citizenship or legal residence is provided without probable cause or search warrants.
In opposition to this controversial law, the Obama administration challenged the validity of SB 1070, arguing that this law conflicts with federal immigration law because states do not have power to administer laws and policies exclusively reserved to federal government. Immigration law is a federal law and Congress and federal immigration agencies have the power to administer immigration policies. Moreover, the administration argues law would result in racial profiling and racial discrimination against ethnic minorities.
The two legal arguments used here are Due Process Violation and Federalism to invalidate the Arizona law. However, Supreme Court Justices, even liberal ones seem to exhibit skepticism that Arizona’s ability to check people’s immigration status is completely prohibited under Federalism.
“You can see it’s not selling very well,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor told the federal government’s lawyer. Arizona’s attempt to alert federal authorities that a person may be in the country illegally does not force “you to change your enforcement priorities,” said Sotomayor, one of the court’s liberals and its first Hispanic member.
The ruling on this case will come out in June. It seems as the Justices are leading towards allowing states to be able to check individual’s immigration status despite the federal government’s argument of strict federalism under the issue of immigration. Our immigration attorneys believe that this case will set the precedence for many upcoming state policies to battle illegal immigration maybe except for California.