The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling this morning, striking down key provisions of Arizona's crackdown on immigrants. While the high court ruled that much of the controversial law was unconstitutional, the justices said that one part of the Arizona law, requiring police to check the immigration status of those suspected of not being in the United States legally, could go forward. But even there, the court ruled that the provision could be subject to legal challenge.
The Obama administration challenged Arizona's Senate Bill 1070, saying the law crossed over long-established boundaries between states and the federal government on immigration issues.
The Idaho Community Action Network and American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on SB 1070, saying it "encouraged racial profiling."
In the current issue of BW, Tanaz Moghadam, who was part of the ACLU litigation team that challenged SB 1070, pointed to skyrocketing taxpayer expense and courtroom logjams associated with the anti-immigration laws.
"The costs of litigation are pretty remarkable," said Moghadam. "We certainly believe these laws need to be litigated and rights need to be vindicated. Is it worth the taxpayers' money to have to defend it?"
Additionally, Moghadam said the number of immigrants behind bars in the United States was "through the roof."
"Since the 1990s, it has gone up 15-fold, so that every given year, something like 400,000 people are held just for immigration—not criminal—just for immigration purposes to see if they are deportable or not," said Moghadam.