Not in My Country

Protest against Arizona’s new laws, 2010

An Arizona law places immigration policy on the election stage.

by Yatindra Bhatnagar

The issue of illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border into the Southern United States has long been contentious, but never more so than in an election year. New laws in Arizona in 2010 forced the federal government to intervene, and the debate reached the Supreme Court at a feverish time.

On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key parts of Arizona State law that sought to deter illegal immigration. Immigration in the United States is governed federally, but Arizona attempted to take illegal immigration prevention into its own hands to contend with local issues when it seemed the federal government wasn’t doing enough.

Arizona defended its policies with criticism of the federal government’s lackluster effort to enforce existing laws and argued for the right to deal with the local situation with sovereignty. The Supreme Court sided with the federal government only on an argument of policy, but scored a victory for the cause of immigrants in the face of Arizona’s unsympathetic position.

The decision impacts a significant …

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