Thursday, June 28, 2012
The Supreme Court met Monday June 25th to discuss Arizona’s strict immigration law. This meeting questioned the state’s ability to implement federal immigration policy. The Supreme Court still allowed the portion of Arizona statute that requires police officers to determine the immigration status of those they have stopped.
The justices discussed how much power Arizona has to police its borders, thereby addressing larger civil rights questions such as the extent of racial profiling in Arizona’s approach. They evaluated the terms – how can someone have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the United States illegally?
Historically, federal officials have sought out more dangerous illegal immigrants. Arizona’s law requires local officers to request several immigration checks of any individual they deem “suspicious.” Chief Justice John Roberts questioned the federal government’s role, asking why it wouldn’t want a state to assist in identifying illegal immigrants. However, there is discussion about the everyday life of people living under this law.
Nine Network PBS St. Louis’s documentary Homeland deals with these themes of immigration enforcement and documents the stories of individuals affected by immigration law. Homeland also features Kris Kobach, one of the main proponents of strict immigration law, whom took a key role in writing Arizona’s policy.
Kris Kobach’s constituents will find the Supreme Court’s dissection of Arizona’s law dangerous for our country’s safety and economic stability. However, many see it as necessary. What remains from the law is still controversial for civil rights activists, and will affect Arizona’s citizens and non-citizens alike.