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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More