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Arizona vs. United States - Criminal Defense Attorney


It has taken over two years for the US Supreme Court to hear the case and render their decision about Senate Bill 1070 (S.B. 1070). S.B. 1070 deals with Arizona’s controversial issue about illegal immigrants. When the Bill was first introduced it almost gave police officers the right to “racially profile” anyone who fit the description. This is why the United States went to the federal court to block it, arguing that the law violates the Constitution because it is trumped by federal immigration laws. The courts agreed that four of the provisions of S.B. 1070 were invalid:

•Section 2(B), popularly known as “show me your papers,” which requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone whom they arrest or detain and allows them to stop and arrest someone if they believe that he is an undocumented immigrant;

•Section 3, which makes it a crime to be in Arizona without valid immigration papers;

•Section 5(C), which makes it a crime to apply for or hold a job without proper immigration papers; and

•Section 6, which allows a police officer to arrest someone, without a warrant, if the officer believes that he has committed – at some point in time – a crime that could cause him to be deported.

So what does this mean as far as your rights when in Arizona? First, it does not mean that police officers can pull you over and ask you for your papers and hold you until your citizenship has been verified. However, if they do pull you over for a traffic violation they can detain you for a reasonable amount of time to issue you a ticket and start the verification process, but will have to finish the process at a later time. Second, if you are found without your immigration papers it is still a misdemeanor and a maximum of $100 fine for your first offense. Thirdly, the Court again relied on the concept of “field preemption” to hold Section 5(C) invalid, explaining that Congress had set up a comprehensive system to deal with employment of undocumented workers. Although Arizona argued that Section 5(C) does not conflict with any federal laws because the federal system only deals with employers, and does not make it a crime for undocumented workers to work in this country, the Court was unmoved. Finally, because Section 6 would give state law enforcement officials a much broader power to make arrests than under the federal system, the Court concluded, it cannot stand.

If you feel as though your civil rights may have been violated please contact Criminal Defense Attorney Mesa AZ, Charlie Naegle, at (480) 418-0776 or fill out the consultation request form located throughout the site.

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