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Immigration, Racism, and the Supreme Court

16 July 2012 No Comment
by Marjorie Cohn
July 16, 2012

The issue of immigration has been tossed about like a political football for some time. Democrats argue that migrants who have spent many years in the United States should be permitted to apply for lawful status. Republicans criticize these proposals as “amnesty.” But Congress has been unable to agree on comprehensive immigration reform.

Three and one-half years into his term, President Obama announced on June 15 a policy to halt deportations for many undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. They must be under age 30, have come to the United States when they were under age 16, have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, be either an honorably discharged veteran or a high school graduate, and have suffered no felony or “significant” misdemeanor convictions.

Ten days after Obama revealed his new program, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision on Arizona’s SB 1070. Arizona had enacted a repressive law aimed at “attrition [of undocumented immigrants] through enforcement.” Five other states followed suit and waited as the high court considered the constitutionality of Arizona’s
law.

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