The Supreme Court’s ruling in Arizona v. United States doesn’t just impact people in Arizona. It sets a new constitutional precedent for what actions can be taken by other states with regard to immigration.
After Arizona’s ill-fated S.B. 1070 was passed, other states under Republican-controlled legislatures tried to copy the law for their own states. They were helped in this by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which had supported the legislation on behalf of its private prison management members.
While significant legislative action was undertaken in over a dozen states, five succeeded in passing draconian, Arizona-style anti-immigrant laws. Here’s a look at those five states, and what Monday’s ruling could hold for them.
Alabama’s H.B. 56 went even further than Arizona’s S.B. 1070 in attacking immigrants. Written by Kansas Attorney General and anti-immigration zealot Kris Kobach, the law prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving any kind of state benefits at the state or local level, prohibits undocumented immigrants from attending publicly-funded colleges, and requires public schools to make a determination as to whether students are in the country legally. The law prohibits landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants, makes hiring undocumented immigrants a crime, and makes the firing or refusal to hire a legal Alabama resident a crime, so long as a company employs an undocumented worker. Additionally, the law includes provisions similar to S.B. 1070 with regard to police detention and employment.
While the law was upheld in large part by a district judge on September 29, 2011, many of the law’s provisions have been thrown into question by the Supreme Court’s ruling. The court struck down provisions in the Arizona law that made it illegal for undocumented immigrants to apply for work.
Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, tried to strike a positive note in a statement reported by USA Today, in which he said the “real teeth of Arizona’s law” had survived the court’s ruling. While that is debatable, the court’s ruling seems to put many of H.B. 56′s most draconian provisions in jeoparday; it’s hard to imagine a court saying that individual states cannot make it a crime for undocumented workers to look for a job, but they can make it a crime to rent an apartment to them.
We shouldn’t have to wait long for an answer; the law’s legality had already been appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has already temporarily blocked most provisions of the law. The court had been waiting to make a final ruling until after the Supreme Court’s Arizona ruling.
Image Credit: Jim Shen
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