On Monday, December 12th, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Arizona v. U.S. to determine the constitutionality of Arizona’s immigration statute, popularly known as Support our Law Enforcement or Safe Neighborhood Act, S.B. 70. In April of 2011, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision from the United States District Court, District of Arizona, which granted the federal government’s request for an injunction, preventing Arizona from enforcing S.B. 70 until its constitutionality was determined.
S.B. 70 criminalizes certain behaviors by immigrants. According to the SCOTUS blog, S.B. 70 makes it illegal for an immigrant anywhere in Arizona to fail to carry legal papers pertaining to their immigrant status. Undocumented immigrants face misdemeanor charges should they apply for work or work in Arizona. Police stops or arrests require that police try to determine the legality of an individual’s presence in the U.S. before release.
Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer and the state’s legislature argue that the law was enacted under the state’s police powers and is thus constitutional while the U.S. government argues that it is a violation of federal supremacy, usurping the powers reserved to the federal government to establish immigration policies and laws. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah all have legislation similar to Arizona’s regarding immigrant status.