News

US Supreme Court to Review Immigration Law


The United States Supreme Court on Wednesday will review a restrictive immigration law from the southwestern state of Arizona. The law requires police to check a person's immigration status during routine traffic stops or other actions. The Arizona statute has brought immigration laws to the forefront on a state and federal level.

Alhassanne Foungounou plays his guitar and sings of liberation on YouTube. Foungounou requested asylum in the United States when his Tuareg protest songs angered the Niger government. But Foungounou returned home to Niger after Arizona passed a tough immigration law and he was nearly arrested. We asked him about it on Skype.

"I like the United States a lot but the Arizona law is not good. The vender asked me for my ID [identification] and I gave her my work permit. Soon after that the police came. It was like I killed someone," said Foungounou.

Foungounou was in the U.S. legally, but he did what Arizona officials hope to accomplish with the law. Arizona shares a border with Mexico. Governor Jan Brewer said she wanted to make conditions so uncomfortable that illegal immigrants would voluntarily leave her state. The law requires legal immigrants to carry documentation with them at all times or be jailed. It also requires police to check a person's immigration status if the officer suspects the individual is in the country illegally.

The law was to end years of frustration over Arizona's estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants. After several court challenges, its future is up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Michael McLaughlin said the law is refreshing and should be upheld. His wife is a German immigrant who followed the legal path to citizenship 42 years ago.

He and other volunteers are trying to get strict laws in all 50 states. They plan to demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court.

"We have about 8 million illegal aliens in the United States, 7 million of whom are working in non-agricultural jobs at the same time that we have 22 million Americans looking for full-time employment," said McLaughlin.

If the Supreme Court upholds the law, individual states could enact their own immigration rules. Kristina Campbell is a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia.

"They really are opening up a can of worms if you believe in the principle of federalism - that we are several states, but one nation. We have the same laws at the federal level. Then, I think turning around and saying, 'Well you guys can do whatever you want on this particular issue' is problematic."

Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum opposes the law, but he sees the benefit of getting the nation to address immigration.

"You know what? We've got to get our act together. We've got to figure this out. Whether it is Arizona or Alabama, the country is losing because we have a dysfunctional immigration system," said Noorani.

The justices are expected to have a decision in June.


Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs