The US Supreme Court has delivered the final blow to an Arizona law that denied undocumented immigrants charged with felonies the right to bail. The decision is the latest in a series of Arizona immigration policies to be struck down by the courts.
The highest court in the United States yesterday rejected the attempt by the top prosecutor in metro Phoenix to see the law, which was enacted back in 2006, reinstated following the move by a lower appeals court to scrap it last year after it decided the law was essentially imposing punishment prior to trial and therefore violated civil rights. Although a few immigration policies introduced by Arizona remain, the great majority have been slowly but surely dismantled by the courts, especially those that attempted to make immigration enforcement a problem for local police.
“At this point, we can say that was a failed experiment,” says American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Cecilia Wang, who challenged the law. “Like the rest of the country, Arizona should move on from that failed experiment.” The no-bail law was given the thumbs-up by voters in the state, with over 1,000 undocumented immigrants charged with felonies held without bail until the law was overturned in 2014 by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Critics say undocumented immigrants held without bail often pleaded guilty because it was impossible for them to support their families while waiting for trial; however, supporters of the law claim it prevented undocumented criminals skipping bail.