Supreme Court Overturns 3/4 of Arizona’s Immigration Law

Posted on June 27th, 2012, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. Comments Off on Supreme Court Overturns 3/4 of Arizona’s Immigration Law

The U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on a growing controversy pitting individual states against the federal government on the topic of illegal immigration.

Frustrated with what some have seen as as the federal government’s inability to control illegal immigration, states such as Alabama and South Carolina have enacted their own laws to deal with the issue.

On Monday, June 25th, the Court ruled that Arizona had, for the most part, gone too far with their statute. Arizona’s immigration statute, known as SB1070, initially invited both criticism and praise when enacted in 2010. But on Monday, in a 5-3 decision, the Court held that three of the statute’s four provisions are preempted by the Immigration and Nationality Act; specifically, the provisions of SB1070 (a) making it a misdemeanor for an undocumented alien to fail to apply for or carry alien registration paperwork; (b) making it a misdemeanor for an undocumented alien to apply for or perform work; and (c) allowing law enforcement to conduct a warrantless arrest when there is probable cause to believe the person committed an offense which would result in deportation.

The fourth provision of SB1070, which was not overturned by the Court, allows Arizona law enforcement to inquire into the immigration status of any person who is stopped for a legitimate reason based on reasonable suspicion.

President Obama interpreted the court’s decision as further support for comprehensive immigration reform. He, and other SB1070 foes, also questioned the practical impact of the statute’s remaining provision, commonly referred to as the “show me your papers” provision. Further legal challenges to this provision are likely.

The high Court’s ruling makes it clear that immigration is a federal matter. State attempts to circumvent or supplement federal law that conflict with federal enforcement will not survive judicial scrutiny.

If you or a loved one require legal assistance with an immigration law matter, contact us to schedule your initial consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer today. Our immigration attorneys represent clients throughout Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

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Jennifer S. Varughese is the lead immigration attorney at Livesay & Myers, P.C. Her immigration law practice covers both family-based and employment-based green cards, temporary visas, adjustment of status for those already present in the country, citizenship, and deportation cases. Ms. Varughese has been recognized for her work in the area of the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.

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