News / USA

    Top US Court Weighs Voter Law Against Illegal Immigrants

    An anti-immigration rights protester, left, holds up a sign as he is pointed at and shouted at by immigration rights marchers during a Puente Movement event March Against Deportation, Family Separation, and Workplace Raids on March 11, 2013, in Phoenix.An anti-immigration rights protester, left, holds up a sign as he is pointed at and shouted at by immigration rights marchers during a Puente Movement event March Against Deportation, Family Separation, and Workplace Raids on March 11, 2013, in Phoenix.
    x
    An anti-immigration rights protester, left, holds up a sign as he is pointed at and shouted at by immigration rights marchers during a Puente Movement event March Against Deportation, Family Separation, and Workplace Raids on March 11, 2013, in Phoenix.
    An anti-immigration rights protester, left, holds up a sign as he is pointed at and shouted at by immigration rights marchers during a Puente Movement event March Against Deportation, Family Separation, and Workplace Raids on March 11, 2013, in Phoenix.
    The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on whether the state of Arizona has the right to craft its own voting laws to prevent illegal immigrants from casting ballots, a process critics say opens the door to discrimination against legal voters.

    Arizona, which shares a border with Mexico, has some of the strongest anti-immigration laws in the United States and the voting rights case is the latest in its efforts to deal with non-U.S. citizens illegally in the state.

    It is asking the Supreme Court to uphold a 2004 state law requiring local voting applicants to provide physical proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, passport, tribal forms or a driver’s license.

    Opponents of Arizona’s voter-approved Proposition 200 say it violates the decade-old National Voter Registration Act, a federal law requiring voting applicants to state they are U.S. citizens without providing any proof. People caught lying can face perjury charges.

    Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne argued the constitutionality of Proposition 200 before the Court Monday, saying an “honor system” is not strong enough to prevent voter fraud.

    Jesus Gonzalez is the lead plaintiff in the case. He tried to register to vote right after becoming a U.S. citizen but was rejected twice by state officials. Gonzalez used both his driver’s license and his naturalization certificate number, but officials said they still could not confirm his citizenship.

    Civil rights groups supporting Gonzalez say his story is not uncommon. In a legal brief submitted to the court, the groups say more than 31,000 voting applicants were rejected between January 2005 and September 2007. Of that number, 11,000 eventually succeeded in registering to vote after repeated attempts.

    The groups say Proposition 200 violates the U.S. Constitution “because it requires naturalized citizens - predominantly Latinos and Asians - to surmount additional and unique hurdles to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”

    “The unique obstacles presented by the law effectively relegated this population to second-class citizenship,” they write in the brief.

    The Obama administration is on their side, although it is focusing on another aspect of the case. It has filed court documents supporting the ruling of a federal appeals court, which ruled against Proposition 200 because it said federal law overrides state law.

    The outcome of the case could determine how other states approach the issue. If the Supreme Court upholds Arizona’s request to determine its own voting guidelines, other states could follow suit, opening the door for new sets of rules like Florida’s attempt in 2005 to require voter applicants to prove their mental capacity.

    Voter rights groups, including the Constitutional Accountability Center, expressed cautious optimism after Monday’s court arguments.

    "A majority of the Court, including Justice [Anthony] Kennedy, appeared to recognize that the entire point of having a single federal form was to streamline the voter registration process, and that approving Arizona's law would pave the way for a patchwork of 50 state forms," Doug Kendall, the group’s president, said in a statement.

    Even after the Supreme Court decides on this case, the battle over immigration is far from over. Arizona is at the center of a national debate on how to secure the country’s borders and treat the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The issue is being tackled by lawmakers in Congress and advocacy groups across America.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: roger from: Michigan
    March 19, 2013 2:04 AM
    let me get this straight. illegals can vote if they don't get caught. who is the brain child of this ? are the politicians, all crazy? Idea!!! just give them all the SS benifits, a green card. Then You move to Mexico and try the same B.S. and see how long U last there !!!!!

    by: Citizen from: USA
    March 19, 2013 1:59 AM
    Yes because preventing citizens of another country from voting in our elections is bigotry.

    by: imran igra from: new york
    March 19, 2013 1:58 AM
    we are becoming more and more like Third World.
    Non-tolerant & Isolationists.
    Not cool, AZ.

    by: EasyPeasy from: California
    March 19, 2013 1:56 AM
    How does presenting a DL prove citizenship??
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 19, 2013 9:44 AM
    Because you nim-rod, you can't get an AZ license unless your a U.S. citizen

    by: Anony from: Mous
    March 19, 2013 1:54 AM
    If this kind of stupidity is upheld, there should at least be new protection for states creating their own marijuana laws.

    by: Anonymous
    March 19, 2013 1:42 AM
    Once again, liberal's resort to name calling. Terrible Arizona is making people prove they are actually citizens before they can exercise their Constitutional right to vote. Oh the horrors! A drivers license, birth certificate, naturalization card? That's so unfair.

    Listen sheep, I know you are all brainwashed by your fluff TV. A law like this is made because illegal's are breaking the law. It's not a tough concept to grasp. I know you libs all want that illegal vote to keep the gravy train rolling, but illegal is illegal.

    Why was Mr. Gonzalez's application refused twice using two different numbers? Could it possibly be that 312 other people have already attempted to use those numbers to secure fake identity? Could there just be a simple glitch in a government system that could be fixed so Mr. Gonzalez can cast his vote? Oh no! One person in a state of 6.5 million had a problem...let's strike this terrible law instead.

    Think sheep, think.

    by: Anonymous
    March 19, 2013 1:24 AM
    Wow. If the court sides with Arizona, it will set a precedent in all 50 states. Think about it... we might never have a Democrat president again!

    by: Anonymous
    March 18, 2013 5:02 PM
    Once again Arizona is leading the nation in bigotry.
    In Response

    by: Cheri
    March 19, 2013 1:46 AM
    They are a leader in enforcing already existing laws in this country that the Federal Government has decided to look the other way on. How ridiculous it's come to this where a state has to petition to enforce the actual law. Your comment is bigoted - you're condemning an entire state of people of all backgrounds. I find the most racist and bigoted people are the ones that cry racism for every bloody thing. The fact that you post anonymously sure adds to your credibility. Bigoted against who? There is no race involved in the law/legislation. The law is for Americans who last time I checked were all different colors and creeds. When someone breaks in to your home, I sure hope you don't call the police. Why would you? They're breaking the law, something you don't care that millions are doing, so I'm sure you wouldn't mind. Your racism comment is so tiring....try a new approach if you can't handle that the law is the law.
    In Response

    by: hkc from: san antonio
    March 19, 2013 1:43 AM
    once again Arizona shows they are thinking correctly unlike the rest of the nation.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous 2 from: california
    March 18, 2013 9:11 PM
    Once again Arizona is leading the nation in a reality check! Thank you Arizona. Somebody has to take the lead before this country goes down the drain.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora