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Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to a 2007 Arizona Immigration Law

Posted Jun 30, 2010 6:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lot of press accounts have focused on the constitutionality of Arizona’s new law requiring police to seek proof of a person’s immigration status if they have a reasonable suspicion the person is in the country illegally.

But a different immigration law designed to combat illegal immigration in Arizona is back in the news now that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a pre-emption challenge to the measure. The court granted cert Monday, according to stories by the Associated Press, the Christian Science Monitor, the Arizona Republic and SCOTUSblog.

Under the law, Arizona employers are required to use a federal electronic system to verify their workers are eligible for employment. Those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants are penalized with suspension or revocation of their business licenses.

Kevin Johnson, dean of the law school at the University of California at Davis, tells the Christian Science Monitor that the Supreme Court case may be “potentially the biggest immigration ruling of the past 30 years.” The decision, he said, is expected to address whether state efforts to combat illegal immigration are pre-empted by federal immigration laws.

The case is U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. Candelaria.

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