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Arizona immigration law held unconstitutional on appeal

As we discussed in a recent post, South Carolina is one of several states currently considering an Arizona-like immigration bill. However, in one of the few recent victories for United States immigrants, this week the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction on Arizona's controversial immigration bill, deeming it unconstitutional.

The court ultimately held that the law, which requires police to ask for proof of citizenship for people they suspect are in the country illegally, is an infringement on federal authority. It would essentially turn the state police force into immigration officers, which is a federal responsibility, the court held.

The Arizona bill has been criticized by civil rights advocates as promoting racial profiling and unreasonable searches and seizures. As soon as the bill was passed in Arizona, the Justice Department moved for an injunction, or a block, reasoning that the bill was unconstitutional.

The injection was granted in Phoenix Federal Court, and the governor of Arizona appealed on behalf of the state, which took the case to the Circuit Court of Appeals. After the injunction was upheld this week, the governor said she plans to appeal the decision again.

In addition to South Carolina, there are four other states considering laws like Arizona's, and this Court of Appeals decision will likely impact the legislative debate in those states. Since the bill was passed in Arizona, there has been an outpouring of demonstration in the state in opposition to the bill. Recently, Georgia approved a similar bill and protesters marched on that state's capitol as well.

If you or someone you know is in the country illegally and would like help gaining citizenship, contact an experienced immigration attorney who can help guide you through the steps.

Source: New York Daily News, "Ray of hope for immigrants as court buries Arizona law," Albor Ruiz, 4/13/2011.

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