Controversial Arizona Law Reaches Supreme Court
As with last month’s test of the Obama health care overhaul, the case pits the federal government’s assertion of power against some states, and with some exceptions, it pits Democrats against Republicans.
The Arizona law before the court, known as SB 1070, has become a model for other states, particularly those dominated by Republicans. Last year, however, a federal appeals court blocked enforcement of key provisions as an unconstitutional encroachment on federal immigration authority.
Historically, the federal government has the power to regulate immigration questions, while the states have the power to police illegal activities that threaten health and safety within their own borders. This case pits these two legal concepts against each other.
In recent years, Arizona has become the eye of the political storm over immigration. The state, which shares a 370-mile border with Mexico, contends that it bears a “disproportionate burden” of illegal immigration, due in large part to what it calls “lax enforcement” by the federal government.
Its brief paints a grim and frightening picture of life in the state: human traffickers more heavily armed than border patrol agents; Mexican drug cartels penetrating as far as 80 miles beyond the border, threatening police, invading homes and kidnapping people.
Read the full story at NPR.org