The pending Supreme Court decision on SB 1070

By Armando Bellmas, Director of Communications

This month, we expect the Supreme Court to announce their ruling on the legality of Arizona v. United States. The Court will determine whether four provisions of an Arizona law, SB 1070, should continue to be enjoined because they are preempted by the U.S. Constitution and federal law, or should be allowed to go into effect. (Preemption is the legal principle that federal law will prevail over conflicting state law.) The following are the four provisions under review:

Section 2(B) –  A provision that requires local law enforcement to verify the immigration status in any lawful stop, detention, or arrest, including for violation of a municipal ordinance such as making excessive noise, any time they have “reasonable suspicion” that someone is unlawfully present – this is often referred to as the “show me your papers” provision, and of course U.S. citizens as well as immigrants would need to be able to demonstrate their status were this provision to take effect.

Section 3 – A provision that makes it a state crime for a non-citizen to willfully fail to register with federal immigration authorities, or to fail to carry proof of such registration at all times.

Section 5(C) – A provision that makes it a state crime to work without work authorization, which is not a crime under federal law.

Section 6 – A provision that authorizes local police to arrest a person without a warrant where the suspect has committed an offense that makes the individual removable under federal immigration law – an extraordinarily complicated legal determination.

The Latin American Coalition continues to call on the Supreme Court to rule against the Arizona law, reaffirming the longstanding recognition of the preeminence of federal authority and jurisdiction over immigration. However, if the Court rules for Arizona on any of the provisions in question, it will open the door to many more Arizona-style laws across the country, and quite possibly North Carolina.

The Latin American Coalition and We Are NC (North Carolina’s statewide immigrant rights collaborative) will keep you informed on the decision as soon as it comes down from the Court.

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