Supreme Court: Arizona SB 1070 on the Docket This Season

Posted: Oct 03, 2011 1:24 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court officially kicked off its new season today. Much of the chatter so far about the upcoming agenda has been about ObamaCare, however, illegal immigration is also scheduled to be a hot topic this season if the Justices decide to take up the Arizona SB 1070 case.

A refresher about the Obama Admininstration's lawsuit against the state:

The Obama administration on Tuesday sued Arizona over the state's strict new immigration law, attempting to wrestle back control over the issue but infuriating Republicans who said the border required more security.

The administration argued the Arizona law, which requires state and local police to investigate the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect of being an illegal immigrant, is unconstitutional and would sap law enforcement resources.

The Republican-controlled Arizona legislature passed the controversial law to try to stem the flood of thousands of illegal immigrants who cross its border from Mexico and to cut down on drug trafficking and other crimes in the area.

The Justice Department filed the lawsuit in federal court in Arizona and asked for an injunction to prevent the law from taking effect on July 29.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer condemned the lawsuit as a waste of taxpayer funds and said the state law was needed because the federal government had not done its job.

"As a direct result of failed and inconsistent federal enforcement, Arizona is under attack from violent Mexican drug and immigrant smuggling cartels. Now, Arizona is under attack in federal court from President Obama and his Department of Justice," Brewer, a Republican, said in a statement.

Brewer vowed to fight the lawsuit and said she had set up a legal defense fund to cover legal fees stemming from the federal challenge and other lawsuits.

And a refresher about Mexico's suit against Arizona:

Mexico on Tuesday asked a federal court in Arizona to declare the state's new immigration law unconstitutional, arguing that the country's own interests and its citizens' rights are at stake.

Lawyers for Mexico on Tuesday submitted a legal brief in support of one of five lawsuits challenging the law. The law will take effect July 29 unless implementation is blocked by a court.

The law generally requires police investigating another incident or crime to ask people about their immigration status if there's a "reasonable suspicion" they're in the country illegally. It also makes being in Arizona illegally a misdemeanor, and it prohibits seeking day-labor work along the state's streets.

Arizona's policy, which President Felipe Calderon derided during a recent U.S. trip as "discriminatory," states police can't randomly stop people and demand papers, and the law prohibits racial profiling.

Mexican law, however, requires law enforcement officials "to demand that foreigners prove their legal presence in the country before attending to any issues."

Up to this point, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the origional decision by Federal Judge Susan Bolton, stripping the law of its most crucial components, including its most important provision that required police to inquire about immigration status after an individual committed a crime. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, located in San Francisco, is the most liberal in the country and has the most decisions reversed by the Supreme Court.

But, despite the Bolton and 9th Circuit decisions, SB 1070 has been working and 59 percent of Americans approve of the law. In April of this year, Arizona Senator Russell Pearce explained how. 

Pearce cited a rapid decrease in prison inmate population, $500 million in education savings and higher employment among legal Arizona residents since SB 1070 was implemented just a year ago, proving illegal immigration should be looked at as an economic issue in addition to a national security issue.