This article is by my associate Robert Kravitz
By Robert A. Kravitz, Esq.
As an Immigration lawyer for the past 30 years I saw a step towards positive reform when President Obama signed a Directive to protect immigrants who came to the U.S. before the age of 16, but I think as a nation we took two steps back from positive immigration reform when the Supreme Court allowed Arizona to uphold one of its most troubling anti-immigration provisions.
The Supreme Court struck down three out of four of Arizona’s anti-immigration provisions on Monday, June 25, but allowed the abhorrent provision which enables police to detain to verify a person’s immigration status if the person is stopped for committing a minor infraction, such as speeding. The fact remains that while the Court determined that most of the provisions overstepped federal authority’s power to control immigration and that it was not a state’s right, it stopped short of striking down the most egregious part of the law: racial profiling, which requires police to verify immigration status when stopping, arresting, or questioning someone.
Worse,Arizonalaw 1070 sought to make it a criminal offense to be illegally present in theU.S., and set out criminal penalties for both “illegals” and business owners who hire or “shelter” illegals. Fortunately, these provisions were deemed unconstitutional and/or improper because only the Congress of theUnited Stateshas the power to change Federal Immigration Law.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court left standing the right of individual states to determine what questions police and other law enforcement officials may ask – so long as there is “reasonable cause” — for the police stop in the first place. Obviously, this still leaves open the possibility that law enforcement may stop and question people based on how they look or how they speak: what is “reasonable” was left undefined by the Court, and leaves millions of undocumented fearful of the police. This means if they witness or are victims of crime, they are afraid to come forward – and this compromises the criminal justice system. In the highest court of the land, justice was not served.
While the decision to strike down Arizona’s sweeping “criminalization” of all the undocumented is laudable, this decision is one more indication of the confusing, contradictory application of law to honest, hard-working — but undocumented — immigrants. In my opinion, it makes ever more clear the need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
We will keep a close eye on how these laws are enforced, in Arizonaand the other states with similar laws. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at The Law Offices of Kravitz and Guerra, at www.kravitzlaw.com or via e-mail at: [email protected]
Robert A. Kravitz, Esq.
Law Offices ofKravitz&Guerra,PA
800 Brickell Avenue, Suite #701
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