April 27, 2010

Prof Says Arizona Immigration Law May Violate Constitutional Rights

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A new Arizona immigration bill which targets illegal aliens is bound to be challenged in court, according to Prof. Stephen Yale-Loehr ’77, law, further adding to the media furor surrounding the bill, which was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona last week.Senate Bill 1070 in the Arizona state legislature requires state law enforcement to check any person’s immigration and citizen status if there is a reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally. Though drastic, the bill is a long-awaited response to a problem native Arizonians feel is salient and crucial, according to Yale-Loehr.“There are a lot of immigrants in Arizona … there have been acts of violence,” Yale-Loehr said.Arizona’s abundance of immigrants is “a crisis we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix,” Governer Brewer said after the signing of the bill. Yale-Loehr cited the recent killing of a rancher by a group of illegal immigrants as a galvanizing factor for the bill.According to Rasmussen reports on public opinion, around 70 percent of Arizonians support their governor in signing the bill, denoting a rift between national and local opinion on the legislation. President Obama  has slammed the bill as “misguided.” Critics on both sides of the aisle in Congress say it allows police officers to engage in racial profiling of minorities. Yale-Loehr’s chief criticisms of the bill focused on Constitutional law.“The U.S. Constitution makes it clear that the federal government alone has the responsibility to enact and enforce immigration laws,” Yale-Loehr said in a statement. “In addition, the law might lead to racial profiling and possible violations of the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law.”According to Yale-Loehr, the  Arizona law is one of several overly-stringent pieces of immigration legislation to come about in recently. Though most have been struck down, there have been exceptions. A 2008 Missouri law, that required verification of legal citizenship status for every Missouri citizen and outlawed the issuance of driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, was upheld as constitutional.

Original Author: Brendan Doyle