26 April 2012

Supreme Court tips in favour of tough US immigration law

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After hearing the first series of arguments for and against Arizona's tough US immigration law, the Supreme Court appears to have responded favourably to supporting the state's right to enforce the law.

US immigration

The Supreme Court is expected to deliberate on the US immigration case until July.

The Supreme Court began hearing arguments from both the state and the Obama administration yesterday in order to determine whether states have the right to enforce their own US immigration laws. Arizona argues that, as the busiest point for illegal immigration due to an extensive border with Mexico, it should have the right to customise laws while the Obama administration maintains that US immigration should be a federal issue.

Many expect the court's rulings to have significant ramifications, particularly in November's President election; Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney has previously described Arizona's SB 1070 law as a 'model for the nation'.

While Mr Romney has attempted to soften his position on immigration in recent weeks, a loss for the Obama administration in the Supreme Court would be a damaging blow to his re-election campaign.

During the first 80 minutes of oral arguments, the questions posed and the questions asked by the court's justices suggested a favourable stance towards Arizona's argument.

Justice Anthony Kennedy commented on the 'social and economic' troubles states often endure as a result of illegal immigrants and suggested states should have the right to address the issue. Meanwhile Chief Justice John Roberts dismissed the Obama administration's claim that Arizona's law conflicted with federal law as an 'effort to help enforce federal law'.

The case aims to determine the constitutionality of the right of states to enforce immigration law and has generated worldwide attention as well as several protests.

Opponents of the law claim it supports racial profiling and hundreds of protesters marched in Arizona's capital Phoenix with signs and chanting, claiming the law would produce 'racist police'.

Meanwhile, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who was present at the Supreme Court in Washington DC and signed the bill into law in 2010, said she remained hopeful the law would be upheld and was 'very, very encouraged' by the justices' questions.

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