U.S. Supreme Court

ABA Urges Supreme Court to Overturn Ariz. Law Requiring Immigration Checks of Some Arrestees


The ABA has filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn part of a controversial Arizona law that requires immigration status checks for some people who are stopped or arrested.

The ABA brief urges the court to rule that four enjoined provisions are pre-empted by federal immigration law, according to a press release. The four provisions:

• Require police officers to check the immigration status of a person legally stopped, detained or arrested, if they have a reasonable suspicion the person is in the United States illegally. If the person is arrested, police would be required to hold the person pending federal verification.

• Authorize warrantless arrests when there is probable cause to believe a person has committed a public offense warranting deportation.

• Make it a state crime for immigrants to fail to obtain and carry federal registration documents.

• Make it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment.

Especially problematic, the ABA brief (PDF) says, is the requirement for indefinite detention of anyone suspected of being unlawfully present until federal authorities can verify immigration status. The provision “raises significant due process concerns,” the ABA says.

“Verification is complicated, even for federal officers who have undergone significant training,” the brief says. “ABA member volunteers and staff regularly encounter improperly detained American citizens and lawfully present aliens.”

Also of concern is a requirement for state and local officers to determine whether an alien is removable based on criminal history, according to the ABA. “While commission of certain crimes clearly triggers grounds for removal, others require multiple proceedings before a determination can be made, and even then, there are forms of relief that may be available,” the brief says.

The case is Arizona v. United States.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Challenge to Controversial Arizona Immigration Law”

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