Update on the Supreme Court and Arizona’s SB 1070 Law

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On April 25, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Arizona v. U.S., the case questioning the constitutionality of Arizona’s SB 1070 law.

If you’re following the news, you probably already know that SB 1070 requires police officers to find out a person’s immigration status when there is reasonable suspicion the person is undocumented. It also requires immigrants to carry documentation, makes it illegal for undocumented workers to live or look for work in Arizona, and makes it a crime for people to knowingly hire, keep safe, or transport undocumented workers.

Since the passage of SB 1070 in early 2010, Lutheran leaders, advocates, and politicians have voiced fierce opposition to it. The Washington Post and Sojourners have published commentary on the case by the senior staff of LIRS, which joined in the many amicus briefs filed in connection with SB 1070. Meanwhile, Arizona has seen a detrimental effect on its economy, and its reputation has taken a big hit.

The Supreme Court’s decision is not expected until late June 2012. This ruling is critical because it will have ramifications not only for Arizona, but also for other states that have passed anti-immigration laws, as well as still others that may proceed based on the Court’s opinion. For example, lower court judges have at least partially blocked state immigration laws from being implemented in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah. Many of these judges have chosen to postpone their ultimate decision on such cases until they receive guidance from the Supreme Court.

As you can see, the Supreme Court’s decision will play a huge role in shaping the field of immigration law for years to come.  Stay tuned to the LIRS blog for further updates on the fate of SB 1070, and to learn how you can help fight unjust state-level anti-immigrant laws!

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