Now that Arizona’s controversial immigration law is being considered by the US Supreme Court, experts are making new predictions about the outcome of the case. While experts have been saying for some time that they expect the highest court in the land to uphold some of the law – including the most controversial parts of the law – they are now also saying that the Supreme Court decision will likely not end the controversy. Instead, experts predict that legal disputes about the law will continue as opponents of the law try to get the legislation thrown out.
The US Supreme Court is considering whether the 2010 Arizona law is permitted in light of federal jurisdiction over immigration measures. This means that those who oppose the law could use other legal grounds to object to the law. They may challenge the legislation on grounds that it leads to racial profiling, for example. Since the law requires police to investigate anyone they stop who may be in the country illegally, the law may still be challenged on those grounds.
The US Supreme Court is expected to return a decision about the immigration law by the end of June. Experts predict that if the law is upheld, it will not only lead to enforcement of the law in Arizona but will also pave the way for other states to pass similarly tough immigration laws. This could pave the way for states to take a more active role in immigration enforcement. Traditionally, this role has been played by the federal government. In 2010, however, Arizona determined that the government was doing too little to prevent and stop illegal immigration. The state therefore passed the controversial immigration law. So far, five states – Utah, Alabama, Indiana, Georgia, and South Carolina – have passed Arizona-style immigration laws and a US Supreme Court decision in favor of the Arizona law could push these states as well as others to start enforcing the laws.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups have already stated that they have plans in place in case the Supreme Court decides to uphold the law. It is expected that the groups will seek to block enforcement of the Arizona law in lower courts, using another legal ground. For example, they may argue that the immigration law mandates that police extend the permitted time of traffic stops. Advocacy groups are also planning awareness and public relations campaigns to drum up support for opposition to the law. It is not clear how long the battle will continue before the law is finally struck down or enforced.