How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The latest challenge to SB 1070's controversial Section 2(B)

Photo by SEIU International/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A protester holds a union anti-SB 1070 sign, May 1, 2010

Late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three of four controversial provisions of Arizona's SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law that had been temporarily blocked by a lower court. But they upheld the most contentious one, Section 2(B), which empowers local cops to check the immigration status of people they stop or detain if they decide there is "reasonable suspicion" the person is in the country illegally.

So given the court's decision, why, then, is there a renewed legal challenge to Section 2(B) before it takes effect? Like most of the legal wrangling that has surrounded SB 1070, it's complicated.

When they issued their ruling on SB 1070 in late June, the justices made clear that Section 2(B) was not entirely out of the woods. While it did not on its face appear to conflict with federal law - the basis of the federal legal challenge that eventually led SB 1070 to the high court - there was no guarantee that it would not present a conflict once implemented, the justices ruled.

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How the SB 1070 Supreme Court ruling is making its way through the states

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Arizona's SB 1070 late last month, striking down three provisions of the state anti-illegal immigration law while upholding its most controversial one, other states with SB 1070-style laws have been weighing how the decision applies to them.

The justices ruled on whether four contested sections of the 2010 Arizona law encroached on the federal government’s ability to set immigration policy, and thus were preempted by federal law. The one provision the high court did not strike down: Section 2(B), which empowers local police to check the immigration status of people they stop, detain or arrest if there is “reasonable suspicion” the person is in the country illegally. The court ruled that, as written, this did not conflict with federal law, although it remains to be seen if it will violate federal law in practice.

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Survey: Majority says immigration policy is for the feds, not the states

Photo by Timothy Valentine/Flickr (Creative Commons)


As the handful of states that have enacted their own immigration laws in recent years weigh which way to go in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's SB 1070, a new survey suggests one reason why more states haven't gone the way of Arizona: Many Americans don't care to.

A recent tracking survey from the Public Religion Research Institute that measured attitudes on federal-vs.-state immigration policies, same-sex marriage and other hot button political issues found that more than three-fourths (77 percent) of those surveyed believed that immigration policy should be handled at the federal level, while only 20 percent said it should be left up to the states.

Respondents were more split on a different immigration question, one that asked whether young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children should be able to obtain legal status if they go to college or join the military - in other words, the goal of the proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. More than half (55 percent) said they favored or strongly favored such a policy, while 41 percent said they opposed or strongly opposed it.

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Posts of the week: Dissecting the SB 1070 decision, more

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

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

And what a week it's been. The U.S. Supreme Court issued two of its most anticipated rulings of the year, Monday on Arizona's SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law and Thursday on the Affordable Care Act.

On my particular beat, anticipation had been building over the SB 1070 decision since the high court agreed to take Arizona's appeal late last year, inching higher in the last couple of weeks each time the court issued opinions, but not one on Arizona v. United States.

It's no wonder that after it all wound down this week, I came down with a nasty bug. Which will make for a short list of highlights this week, but no matter. I'm including some bonus links to a few pieces on what the court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act means for immigrants.

Without further ado, some highlights from the week.

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SB 1070 after the Supreme Court ruling: What happens next?

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court settled the matter of Arizona v. United States, deciding to preserve a key provision of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law while striking down three others. But because the high court was only weighing whether four provisions of the law conflicted with federal law, there is much still left unsettled, and legal wrangling over SB 1070 isn't due to end any time soon.

The one provision the justices did not strike down was Section 2(B), the most hotly contested provision of SB 1070, which empowers local police to check the immigration status of people they stop, detain or arrest if there is “reasonable suspicion” the person is in the country illegally. The court ruled that, as written, this provision did not conflict with federal law, although it remains to be seen if it will violate federal law in practice.

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