Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed S.B.1070 into law in 2010 to crack down on illegal immigration. The law, in essence, makes it a state crime to be in the United States unlawfully. It calls on police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop during the course of their work who they suspect may be in the country illegally. It also makes it a crime for undocumented immigrants to work, or solicit work. Federal courts blocked those and some other provisions pending a Supreme Court ruling, expected in the summer.
Former Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of S.B. 1070, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 24, 2012, before the Senate Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee hearing entitled "Examining the Constitutionality and Prudence of State and Local Governments Enforcing Immigration Law." Pearce, who was recalled by voters, argues that Arizona was besieged by a flow of undocumented immigrants crossing over the border, and that S.B. 1070 was its response to the federal government's failure to secure the border.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach authored the immigration law of Arizona, as well as similar measures in other states. Kobach believes that if undocumented immigrants find it difficult to do such things as find work, drive a car, and obtain services in the United States, they will "self deport."
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Elena Kagan attend U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on January 24, 2012 in Washington, DC. The justices (with the exception Kagan, who has recused herself) will hear arguments Wednesday about SB 1070. The U.S. Justice Department wants the High Court to overturn the law, arguing that it is unconstitutional because it veers into the federal matter of immigration. Arizona officials argue that the law enables local law enforcement to assist federal officials in enforcing immigration laws.
Litzy Medina waits to join a march through downtown to protest Arizona's controversial immigration law SB1070 in 2010 in Phoenix, Ariz. Opponents of the law say it encourages racial and ethnic profiling, and makes immigrants reluctant to tell police about crimes when they've been victims or witnesses.
NOGALES, AZ - JUNE 02: A fence separates the cities of Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora Mexico, a frequent crossing point for people entering the United States illegally, June 2, 2010 in Nogales, Arizona. During the 2009 fiscal year 540,865 undocumented immigrants were apprehended entering the United States illegally along the Mexican border, 241,000 of those were captured in the 262 mile stretch of the border known as the Tucson Sector.
Washington lawyer Paul Clement, President George W. Bush's solicitor general, is to argue for Arizona and Republican Gov. Jan Brewer at Wednesday's hearing on SB 1070. Clement will argue reasons why states should have expanded roles in enforcing immigration laws.
Attorney Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., U.S. Solicitor General, will be arguing the Obama Administration's position that immigration is a federal matter. In his brief to the court, Verrilli said: “Arizona’s attempt to set its own policy for enforcement of federal immigration law is not cooperation. It is confrontation."
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Arizona's immigration enforcement law.