How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The legacy of SB 1070: Three ways it changed the immigration landscape

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Anti-SB 1070 protesters in downtown Phoenix on the day the law took effect, July 29, 2010

Two years ago today, Arizona's Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a bill known as SB 1070. Already, the strict anti-illegal immigration bill had caused heated debate in and out of Arizona, most notably because it would make it a misdemeanor to lack proper immigration documents in the state - and because it would empower local police to check for immigration status if they had “reasonable suspicion” that someone was in the country illegally.

Back then, I wrote about the broad implications that SB 1070 would likely have. Would there be a political ripple effect, with other states considering similar laws? Would some immigrants decide they'd had enough and leave the state? Would it change the political discourse on immigration, with politicians basing their platforms on strict policies? And if tested in court, would it hold up?


What the Supreme Court's review of the SB 1070 case means

Photo by S.E.B./Flickr (Creative Commons)

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., July 2008

After a federal judge in Arizona blocked portions of the state's then-new SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law last year, among other things putting on hold a provision that would empower police to check the immigration status of people suspected of being in the country illegally, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vowed to fight the decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And it's there that the case has now wound up.

The high court announced this morning that it would review the federal government's challenge to the law, which since its partial enactment in July of last year has led to a series of copycat laws in other states - and subsequent legal challenges to each.

The Supreme Court justices won't be weighing the merits of SB 1070, but rather the merits of the lower federal court judge's decision to block parts of it from being enforced pending a constitutional challenge from the Obama administration. The federal lawsuit, filed in early July of last year as SB 1070 was set to take effect, asserts that immigration law is the domain of the federal government and that it pre-empts attempts by states to set their own immigration rules.