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Is the New Arizona Statute on Immigration Constitutional?

Former Arizona governor, current Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder are critical of Arizona’s new law on immigration. Holder, at a news conference, said the Justice Department may challenge the statute.

Current Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation last week that would make it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and require local police to determine the immigration status of anyone an officer suspects of being in the country without proper documentation. The statute would allow local police to stop anyone and question them about their immigration status if they have reason to suspect they are in the country illegally.

Lucas Guttentag, director of the immigrants’ rights project of the American Civil Liberties Union said that the law, “will increase racial profiling and discrimination against Latinos and anyone who might appear to be an immigrant.” The question is what triggers a suspicion of a person’s legal status? The Census Bureau figures show that about one quarter of Arizona’s population is of Hispanic dissent.

Napolitano, said the Justice Department was reviewing the law, and “will look at whether the law meets constitutional safeguards or not.” Hiroshi Motomura, co-author of leading casebook on immigration law and a professor of the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law stated that in his “view of the constitutional question is that it is unconstitutional.” Read more at New York Times and Businessweek.


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