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Senators Hear About Role of State Immigration Laws

Washington, DC
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The chief author of Arizona’s controversial immigration law testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees & Border Security on Capitol Hill. Former Arizona Senator Russell Pearce and other Arizona officials discussed the constitutionality of Arizona’s immigration law and how it impacts the state’s Latino community. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was invited to appear before the hearing but declined.  

Gov. Brewer will be in attendance at Wednesday Supreme Court oral argument on Arizona’s law. The issue before the Court is whether Arizona has the authority to enforce its own immigration law or whether that is the exclusive role of the federal government. Arizona’s immigration law includes provisions requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone detained or suspected of being in the country illegally. Immigrants must carry their papers at all times. Illegal immigrants are banned from soliciting for work in public places and police can arrest immigrants without a warrant if an officer believes they have committed a crime that would make them deportable.  

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) signed SB 1070 into law in April 2010. It  gives police the authority to detain individuals suspected of being in the country illegally and it requires individuals to carry documents proving their immigration status.

The Obama administration claims that Arizonia has overreached its powers, arguing that only the federal government has the authority to enforce immigration policy.

C-SPAN will air the oral argument on Friday once it is released by the Supreme Court.

Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 1:51pm (ET)

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