Welcome back. Before the controversial immigration law passed in South Carolina, a blueprint was adopted in Arizona. As we have been discussing, the United States Supreme Court is considering the validity of that law this week.
Ultimately, Arizona's law aims to "discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens" by making it so difficult for illegal immigrants to live in the state that they choose to leave.
For example, local and state police were given more freedom to check the people's immigration statuses and laws were passed that made it a crime to merely be in the state without proper documentation. Laws were also directed against businesses that hire illegal immigrants.
It is believed that a high number of illegal immigrants left the state after the Arizona bill was signed into law. Of course, the law also led to backlash from many people and entities throughout the nation, and the main portion of the law was blocked by a district court judge on July 28, 2010, a day before it was set to go into effect.
This opened the door for an appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the district court's injunction. Arizona then appealed to the Supreme Court, which is where we are today.
Beginning today, the justices will hear arguments based only on the four provisions of the law that were blocked by the district court judge, including the provision require police to check the immigration status of people during routine traffic stops and the one that makes failing to carry proof of immigration illegal.
There's no doubt that this will be an important Supreme Court case to follow. As one advocate put it, "[t]his is the most important immigration case in a generation."
Source: USA TODAY, "Supreme Court weighs fate of Arizona's immigration law," Alan Gomez, April 23, 2012