Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest Post: Kelsey Clark, Arizona's "Show Me Your Papers" Law and the Future of Immigration

Arizona's "Show Me Your Papers" Law and the Future of Immigration

The Arizona state government has successfully cleared the latest hurdle in enforcing their controversial immigration law, nicknamed the "show me your papers" law. United States District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that the most controversial part of Arizona law SB 1070 can finally be put into action.

This law, signed in 2010 by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, permits police officers to require immigration or citizenship documentation from those who are suspected of being in the country illegally, but only while enforcing other laws. Although the state scheduled enforcement of the law to begin on July 29, 2010, the same Judge Bolton issued an injunction the day before. The case made its way up to the Ninth Circuit, which overturned the law due to fears of what the law could symbolically encourage other states to try. Having survived the Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States, Judge Bolton ruled that this law cannot be challenged any more until it goes into effect.

SB 1070 is Arizona's response to the immigration crisis that has hit their state. Of all fifty states, Arizona has the worst illegal immigration problem. Their controversial law became the inspiration for similar laws in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah. Arizona's controversial law classifies being in the state without proper documents as a misdemeanor.

Attorneys for Governor Brewer argued before Judge Bolton that Arizona law enforcement officers are trained not to discriminate and that they must have a reasonable suspicion of someone's undocumented status prior to requesting their papers. Judge Bolton reasoned that Arizona should have the opportunity to enforce its law, because there is no way to prove beforehand that it will be carried out in a way that violates civil rights. This follows the reasoning of the Supreme Court, which declared that the law was constitutional but left room for the possibility of abuse. While upholding the portion of the law in question, they allowed potential cases of racial profiling to make their way up the judicial system.

Arizona is unsure of how the federal government will respond to information obtained by state law enforcement regarding individuals' immigration statuses. Considering President Obama's disapproval of the law, Arizona has no reason to expect ICE to follow through with Arizona's leads. However, Arizona is hopeful that their law will dissuade illegal immigration into their state.

Those who oppose the law will undoubtedly monitor its enforcement and are prepared to seek legal remedy if it is carried out in a manner that threatens civil rights. Some Hispanic leaders have expressed disappointment with what this law permits. On the other side, leaders such as Senator John McCain have expressed relief that finally the state is permitted to take bold action in order to counter a problem that is both dangerous and frustrating for Arizona residents.

One thing is for certain: this will not be the last time that Arizona's "show me your papers" law is brought before the judiciary for review. Inasmuch as Arizona's methodology has become an example for other states dealing with heavy illegal immigration problems, the future of immigration law will likely pivot on how Arizona's situation develops.

Author Byline: Kelsey Clark is the editor in chief for She loves to write article and ideas that parents & nannies would be interested in hearing. She helps society on giving information about nannies through nanny services. She is a professional writer & loves writing on anything.

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