WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit came to conclusion that Arizona’s controversial immigration legislation, Senate Bill (S.B.) 1070, was determined to be mostly unlawful following a 5 to 3 vote —which excluded Justice Kagen out of the 9 members— ruled in the case Arizona v. United States.
The ACT was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010 but an injection prevented the law from taking effect. The ACT would have made it a state misdemeanor for those who fail to comply with federal alien-registration requirements; a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek or engage in work in the State; authorized state and local officers to arrest without a warrant a person “the officer has probable cause to believe . . . has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States”; and requires officers conducting a stop, detention, or arrest to make efforts, in some circumstances, to verify the person’s immigration status with the Federal Government.
The opening court arguments began on April 25th concluding on June 25, 2012 that the state had over-reached its power into federal jurisdiction because current law states that the federal government holds the power over immigration based on its duty to, “establish a uniform rule of naturalization,” and its “Inherent sovereign power of control and to conduct foreign relations.” For this purpose, Federal laws triumph over State laws and their laws cannot compete nor complement federal law.
However, section 2B of SB1070, was undetermined. That section states that reasonable attempt must be made to determine the immigration status of any person they stop, detain, or arrest on some other legitimate basis if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States. The law also provides that “[a]ny person who is arrested shall have the person’s immigration status determined before the person is released.”
Since section 2B of the legislation has not yet taken effect in Arizona, its constitutionality is unclear and will be determined based on how it is implemented by the state.
If Arizona requires, “state officers to delay the release of detainees for no reason other than to verify their immigration status. This would raise constitutional concerns,” however, if the law is intended to check the immigration status of those already arrested then that would be in agreement with federal immigration scheme that already makes (ICE) the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency available 24 hours a day for immigration checks for police.
The ruling on Arizona’s law will impact the five other states that have passed similar measures: Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Utah who must review their state laws to comply with the court’s decision. Had the legislation passed it could have opened flood gates throughout the nation for each state to hold vastly different immigration regulations.