Entries in Immigration Law (18)


Judge Rules in Favor of Arizona's 'Show Me Your Papers' Provision

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Authorities in Arizona will shortly begin enforcing the "show me your papers" provision of the state's controversial immigration law, SB 1070.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled on Wednesday that after stopping someone for violating another law, police officers can question the legal status of individuals if they think they might be in the country illegally.

The decision follows a two-year court battle that ended with the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the requirement in June.

In a statement Wednesday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer hailed the court ruling, saying it's been a long time coming.

"Today, Arizona is one big step closer to implementing the core provision of SB 1070.  I applaud the federal court for siding with the U.S. Supreme Court in refusing to block the most critical section of this law, which will empower state and local law enforcement, as part of a legal stop or detention, to inquire about an individual’s immigration status when the officer has reasonable suspicion," Brewer said.

"After more than two years of legal challenges, it is time that Section 2(B) of SB 1070 take effect. Given today’s ruling, along with the federal court’s suggestion that it intends in the very near future to formally lift the existing injunction, it is clear the day of implementation is fast approaching," she continued.

While Brewer said the provision "must be enforced efficiently, effectively and in harmony with the Constitution and civil rights," critics contend it will lead to racial profiling of Hispanics.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Upholds Controversial Part of Arizona Immigration Law

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Police officers in Arizona are allowed to check the immigration status of every person who is stopped or arrested, the Supreme Court ruled Monday morning.  But the court struck down other key parts of the law.

The controversial immigration law passed in Arizona two years ago and has been opposed by President Obama.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the policy could interfere with federal immigration law, but that the court couldn't assume that it would.

The law -- known as SB 1070 -- was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer in April 2010, but immediately challenged by the Obama administration.  A lower court sided with the administration and agreed to prevent four of the most controversial provisions from going into effect.

Besides the "show me your papers" provision, another criminalizes unauthorized work, a third makes it a state crime to fail to carry immigration papers, and a fourth allows the warrantless arrests when an officer has probable cause to believe a person has committed an offense that would result in deportation.

Other measures of the law were struck down, including a provision that made it a crime for undocumented immigrants to be in Arizona or seek work in the state.

In court, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. argued that the Constitution gives the federal government authority over immigration control and that the Arizona law interfered with existing federal law.

Verrilli said that while the federal government welcomes the assistance of state officers, Arizona is trying to adopt its own immigration policy while paying no heed to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the principal federal immigration statute that establishes the scheme for the regulation of immigration.

But Paul Clement, arguing on behalf of Arizona, argued that the law was passed because states are frustrated with the federal government's efforts to curb illegal immigration. Clement said that the Arizona law was drafted to cooperate with existing federal law.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Preps Police for Supreme Court Ruling

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wants to be sure her law enforcement officers are ready for an upcoming Supreme Court decision.

Within the next two weeks, the Supreme Court will decide the fate of some key provisions of Arizona’s strict immigration law, SB 1070, and she hopes the justices will reverse a lower court that blocked four provisions from going into effect.

One section is referred to as the “show me your papers” provision, and it requires law enforcement officers to ask a person they’ve stopped for papers if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” the person is in the country illegally.

The Obama administration challenged the law just after it was signed, and a lower court sided with the administration and blocked the provision from going forward.  The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case at the end of April and the federal government asserted that SB 1070 interferes with existing federal law.

Immigration groups are also challenging the law in the lower courts arguing that it will lead to racial profiling.

The Arizona Police Officers Standards and Training Board, charged with providing training guidelines for Arizona’s police officers, developed a video and training materials that were issued to officers after the law was signed two years ago.

Gov. Brewer has issued an executive order mandating that the materials are redistributed to law enforcement officers by the end of business on Friday.

A spokesperson for the governor said on Wednesday, "Gov. Brewer thinks this is an appropriate time to revisit the training and make certain that all Arizona law enforcement officers are informed on how to implement and enforce SB 1070 without violating civil rights or the Constitution.”

In her executive order, Brewer required that officers are trained on what constitutes “reasonable suspicion.”

According to the order, the materials will include a DVD and a training manual that will include “an explanation of documents law enforcement officers can use to determine whether identification presented to them is sufficient to presume a person is not an unlawfully present alien.”

The materials make clear, according to the executive order, “that an individual’s race, color or national origin alone cannot be grounds for reasonable suspicion to believe any law has been violated.”

Brewer stipulates that if the Supreme Court reverses the lower court and allows any of the provisions to go forward, the training materials will be supplemented within 30 days of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Set to Hear Challenge to Arizona’s Immigration Law

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Less than a month after hearing a challenge to the controversial Obama health care law brought by 26 states, the Supreme Court on Wednesday will explore the relationship between the federal government and the states on another hot-button issue: immigration.

At issue is S.B. 1070 -- Arizona’s strict immigration law that empowers local police to enforce federal immigration laws.  It was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer who says that the law was needed to combat illegal immigration.

“It costs us about 1.6 billion dollars a year in health care, incarceration and education,” Brewer said.  “It’s out of control.”

The arguments will mark a rematch between the Obama administration’s top lawyer, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., and Paul Clement, who will argue on behalf of Arizona and who also represented the states in the challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Almost immediately after S.B. 1070 passed in 2010, the Obama administration challenged the law.  A lower court sided with the government and froze four controversial provisions from going into effect.

One of the provisions requires local law enforcement officers to request immigration papers from anyone they stop if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the individual is in the country illegally.  Another criminalizes unauthorized work, and a third makes it a state crime to fail to carry immigration papers at all times.  A fourth provision allows law enforcement to make an arrest without a warrant when an officer has probable cause to believe an individual has committed an offense that would result in a person’s deportation.

The Obama administration argues that the Constitution gives the federal government authority over immigration and that the state law conflicts with existing federal law.

“As the Framers understood, it is the National government that has ultimate responsibility to regulate the treatment of aliens while on American soil, because it is the nation as a whole -- not any single state -- that must respond to the international consequences of such treatment,” Verrilli wrote in court papers.

He argues that while the federal government welcomes the assistance of state officers, Arizona is trying to adopt its own immigration policy while paying no heed to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the principal federal immigration statute that establishes a scheme for the regulation of immigration.

But Clement says in court papers that Arizona shoulders a disproportionate burden of the national illegal immigration problem, and that SB 1070 was passed to supplement the “the federal government’s inadequate immigration enforcement.”

“Arizona was acutely aware of the need to respect federal authority to set the substantive rules governing immigration, and carefully crafted a bill to respect Congress’ policy determinations and definitions while enhancing the State’s contribution to the enforcement efforts,” Clement wrote.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Alabama Immigration Enforcement Law Hurting State's Economy

Hemera/Thinkstock(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) -- Are tough immigration enforcement laws designed to provide jobs for American citizens and save money actually bleeding money from states?  It appears so in Alabama.

Since enacting a law last June that allows police to detain people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally, the state's economy has lost an estimated $10.8 billion.

That's according to a study by University of Alabama economist Samuel Addy, who says that about 80,000 jobs were vacated since illegal immigrants left the state rather than face arrest.

In addition, more than $350 million in income taxes as well as city, county and state sales taxes have been lost due to fewer people spending money in Alabama.

Advocates of the law maintain that the absence of illegal immigrants would provide unemployed legal residents with work, but that apparently hasn't happened because many people don't want to toil at the same low-paying jobs for long hours.

The argument that Alabama would save money on health and education services spent on undocumented aliens has also been struck down by Addy, who contends that the cost of litigation and enforcing the law is surpassing those savings.

There is a move afoot by state Democrats to repeal the law but the GOP-controlled legislature has only promised to look at possibly revising some aspects of it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


States Set to Enact Controversial Laws on January 1 -- Congress may have been bogged down in a quagmire this year, but states across the country actively passed a slew of new laws -- ranging from conventional to controversial -- that are set to go into effect in 2012.

California takes the lead in the number of new laws that will be enacted on Jan. 1, according to a list compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

The ideological divide between conservative and liberal states is stark when it comes to the new regulations.  It is most evident in the issue of immigration and the dueling laws that will go into effect next week.

Four states -- Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia -- passed laws requiring businesses to enroll in the federal E-Verify program to determine whether their employees are legal residents and eligible to work in the United States.

But California took the opposite route.  Starting Jan. 1, city and county governments in the state will be barred from requiring private employers to use E-Verify, unless it's required to receive federal funds or is mandated by the federal government.

The California Dream Act will also go into effect in 2012.  The legislation expands eligibility for in-state tuition and non-state scholarships to students who may not have legal status but have attended high school in the state for at least three years, have graduated from high school, or are attending a college or university.  Another legislation allows such students to participate in student government.

But California stands alone when it comes to more lax requirements on illegal immigration. Most new state laws lean on the conservative side and that's not a surprise, observers say.  In 2010, a wave of elections swept conservatives to power across the country, and a majority of legislatures this year were Republican, says Jon Kuhl, a spokesman for NCSL.

This conservative uprising is also reflected in new election laws that will kick off next year.  Four states -- Kansas, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas -- will require voters to present a photo ID before voting.

California, however, again went in the opposite direction, passing a law that allows new U.S. citizens to both register and vote on election day, a system opponents say invites voter fraud.

California also took the lead in passing other controversial laws that could either set the precedent for the rest of the country or face national backlash.  New legislation requires social science curricula to include, "a study of the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and members of other cultural groups."  It also expands laws against discrimination in textbook materials to include gender, religion, disability, nationality, and sexual orientation.

Outside of ideological motivations, several new laws are indicative of the economic hardship states are facing.

Under a new law in Delaware, people who become members of the state's pension fund on or after Jan. 1 will be required to contribute more than earlier members.  It also ups the retirement age for pension beneficiaries.

Arizona will also reduce benefits under its retirement plan for those who enroll at the start of the new year.  North Dakota, meanwhile, raises the contribution requirement for its state retirement plan by two percentage points.

Here are some other noteworthy laws that will take effect on Jan. 1:

-- A new law in California expands the definition of cyber bullying to include certain posts on social networking sites.

-- Two new laws in Oregon and California prohibit the possession, sale, trade, or distribution of shark fins, a practice that some advocates of the law say has reduced certain species of sharks.

-- Starting Jan. 1, it will be illegal for Nevadans to write text messages or use handheld phone devices while driving.

-- In North Dakota, drivers under 18 years of age will be barred from using cellphones in their cars, and everyone will be prohibited from text messaging.

-- In California, people under the age of 18 will not be allowed to use ultraviolet tanning devices.

-- Delaware and Hawaii will both allow same-sex couples to marry and receive the same benefits as other married couples.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Judge Blocks Most of South Carolina's Immigration Enforcement Law

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments next year about the constitutionality of Arizona's immigration enforcement law, proponents of a similar statute set to take effect in South Carolina next month were dealt a blow by a federal judge Thursday.

Judge Richard M. Gergel of Federal District Court in Charleston struck down various provisions of the state's immigration enforcement law, including the section that makes it mandatory for cops to question a suspect's immigration status during the course of a normal arrest.

Gergel also put the brakes on a part of the law making it illegal to harbor or transport an undocumented alien.

Praising the judge's move, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Andre Segura said, "This is one more decision in favor of blocking these laws.  It further highlights that the weight of authority is that these laws are unconstitutional."

Other judges have also blocked virtually the same provisions in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, and Georgia.  The federal government has argued that it has jurisdiction over immigration laws, trumping state mandates.

The high court's ruling next year on Arizona's law will likely affect the other states with similar rules to stop the flow of illegal immigrants.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Justice Department: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Violated Federal Law

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, "has engaged in a pattern or practice of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law," according to a new report from the federal government.

“[The Maricopa County Sherriff's Office] is broken in a number of critical respects,” said Tom Perez, who heads the U.S. Justice Department's civil rights division. “The problems are deeply rooted in MCSO's culture and are compounded by MCSO's penchant for retaliation against people who speak out against them.”

Perez said Thursday the sheriff's office performed immigration "sweeps,” searching for illegal immigrants -- gathering up Latinos who had not committed crimes.

“MCSO engages in racial profiling of Latinos and unlawfully stops, detains and arrests Latinos all in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments,” Perez said.

“We found that MCSO unlawfully retaliates against people who criticize its policies and practices, in violation of the First Amendment,” said Perez, who added, “we found reasonable cause to believe that MCSO operates its jails in a manner that discriminates against Latino inmates who are limited English proficient.”

For years Arpaio has been under fire for his tactics, which he’s defended.

Thursday’s news is the result of a three-year investigation. Arpaio has several weeks to decide if he'll work out an agreement or be sued.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


AZ Governor on Immigration Law: 'This Case Is Not Just About Arizona'

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday praised the Supreme Court’s decision to step in and hear a case challenging key provisions to her state's tough immigration law.

"This case is not just about Arizona," Brewer said in a statement.  "It's about every state grappling with the costs of illegal immigration.  And it's about the fundamental principle of federalism, under which these states have a right to defend their people."

Brewer says that when she signed the law she was "keenly aware" of the need to respect federal authority over immigration-related matters and that the legislation authorizes "cooperative law enforcement" and enforces sanctions that parallel federal law.

The Obama administration has argued that Arizona's immigration laws interfere with existing federal law.

"Those provisions do not represent an effort to cooperate with the federal government in enforcing federal immigration law; instead, they are designed to establish Arizona's own immigration policy," the administration argues in court briefs.

Brewer has been outraged that the Obama administration has filed suit against Arizona and other states with similar legislation.

"Arizona has been more than patient waiting for Washington to secure the border.  Decades of federal inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation, and states deserve clarity from the Court in terms of what role they have in fighting illegal immigration," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Agrees to Take Up Arizona’s Strict Immigration Law

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court has added another hot button issue to its docket this term, agreeing on Monday to hear a challenge to Arizona’s strict immigration law.

The case will be argued sometime this spring, and Justice Elena Kagan will take no part in the decision presumably because she dealt with the issue in her previous job as Solicitor General of the Obama administration.

Monday’s announcement means that by June the Court will have decided three major controversial issues that could have an impact on the next election.  Besides the immigration case, the Court will hear a challenge to the Obama administration’s health care law as well as a dispute regarding Texas redistricting maps. There have been calls for Kagan to recuse herself from the health care debate, as emails have shown she overwhelmingly supported it, but she apparently has no plans to do so.

The immigration law was passed in April of 2010, and was immediately challenged by the Obama administration. The administration argued that the state law interferes with existing federal law.

"Federal law and policy do not adopt such a one-size-fits all approach to enforcement," Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli argues in court briefs. "The officials who enforce the Nation‘s immigration laws require significant discretion in order to balance numerous goals and purposes…including law enforcement priorities, foreign–relations considerations and humanitarian concerns."

Lower courts sided with the Obama administration and blocked several key provision of the law from going into effect.

One of the blocked provisions provides that a law enforcement officer can ask the person he has stopped, detained or arrested for papers if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally. Another section makes it a state crime for someone to work or seek work without proper authorization.

The lower court’s decision outraged Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who released a statement at the time saying the law, "represents another tool for our state to use as we work to address a crisis we did not create and the federal government has actively refused to fix.  The law protects all of us, every Arizona citizen and everyone here in our state lawfully.”

Arizona argues that the state had to move aggressively to pass the controversial provisions because the federal government was not doing its duty to control immigration.

Critics of the law are pleased that the high court has agreed to step in and decide the issue.

“I think the Court intends to clarify any dispute about the meaning of its legal precedent regarding the ability of states to regulate immigration,” says Karen Tumlin, an attorney at the National Immigration Law Center.

“This case boils down to a question of whether Arizona can mandate that its officers interrogate individuals about their immigration status and attempt to enforce federal civil immigration law” she says.

Although deeply opposed to the law, the Obama administration had asked the Supreme Court to refrain from taking up the case at this juncture.  Verrilli argued that so far only one appellate court has dealt with the law and the Supreme Court  should wait until more cases from other states have had a chance to make their way through the lower courts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio