Monday, March 18, 2013

Eyes Again On AZ Over Illegal Immigration

Arizona set precedents with its state-level immigration enforcement bill, SB1070. The US Supreme Court upheld the majority of the bill. Since, several other states have proposed or passed their own state-level enforcement bills.

SB 1070 has inspired Texas to introduce two bills based upon key portions of the Arizona law that the US Supreme Court upheld.

The US Congress has another bill, the SAVE Act of 2013, which is, in part, based upon Arizona's SB1070.

Now, another Arizona law is seeing its day in court. Today, on the US Supreme Court's docket is Arizona, Et. Al. v The Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.  The main question the case will answer is if federal law preempts state election law in regards to requiring proof of citizenship.

This is not the first time this issue will appear before the court. In some cases, the US Supreme Court struck down the state-level laws because they required proof of citizenship to register to vote on the federal voter registration forms. Arizona has a law in place that does not require such with the federal forms, but does require proof of citizenship to register with the state-level forms. Those state level forms are required in order to vote in local and state level elections and referendums in addition to federal elections.

The US Constitution places election law as mostly a state-level responsibility and authority. Exceptions have all been made through amendments to the US Constitution and have been limited in authority and scope. These have included eliminating a poll tax, allowing all free citizens (non-felons) to vote regardless of race or gender, and setting the national age of suffrage to 18.

Some of the arguments against the Arizona's requirement surround the prohibition of a poll tax. Others will argue that members of indigenous tribes are exempt from state-level election laws.

States seeking to enact voter-ID laws to prevent voter fraud due to stolen identity, non-citizenship, and casting multiple ballots are watching the decision closely. The decision the US Supreme Court issues will states set the foundation upon which these states will build their own voter-fraud prevention laws.