Supreme Court approaching decision on US immigration law

- Posted in America by Visa Bureauon 11 June 2012

US immigration law SB 1070 has been the subject of a Supreme Court case after the Obama administration sued the state of Arizona over claims the law exceeded its jurisdiction in enforcing federal law.

The proposed law permits the stop and search of anyone law enforcement officials suspect of being in the country illegally and requires all foreign nationals to carry registration documents with them at all times. Failure to carry the required documents constitutes a misdemeanour crime under the law.

At the time of its passing, SB 1070 represented the strictest immigration law in recent US history and has prompted significant controversy. The law's opponents, which include the federal government, claim the law supports racial profiling yet supporters insist the law prohibits the use of race as justification for investigation.

While other states have since proposed similar laws, including Alabama's HB 56 which is considered even stricter and is undergoing similar legal challenges, the Supreme Court's decision on SB 1070 is expected to have a nationwide impact on immigration policy.

The Supreme Court still has two other cases to rule on before SB 1070 but justices have indicated a ruling will be passed this month and with several justices appearing to remain unconvinced of the government's arguments, the law's opponents are reportedly already planning new legal challenges.

The court's ruling is expected to have far reaching ramifications, particularly during an election year when immigration is such a vital issue to both President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

Support for the law is likely to be a blow to the president, whose administration is responsible for the challenge and who has promised large scale reform to the immigration system in order to take a softer approach to the issue. Mr Romney, who as previously labelled SB 1070 as a 'model for the nation', could be encouraged to continue his firm stance on the issue.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.