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Supreme Court to review Arizona immigration law

Published: Monday, Dec. 12 2011 10:20 a.m. MST

Border fence Arizona, United States and Mexico

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The U.S. Supreme Court announced plans Monday to review the controversial Arizona law that put immigration law enforcement in the hands of state police.

The Obama administration challenged the law, saying it clashed with federal policies. Lower courts blocked four key parts — making it a state crime to be in the United States illegally; making it illegal to work without authorization; requiring state police to determine immigration status; and allowing warrantless arrest of suspected illegal immigrants.

Most recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled immigration enforcement was solely a federal responsibility.

In its appeal to the Supreme Court, Arizona argued the law was intended to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement and not to usurp power, the Washington Post reported. As a border state, Arizona argued it is struggling with the effects of a "broken" immigration system.

Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the U.S. solicitor general, said the law interfered with the nation's ability to balance "law enforcement priorities, foreign-relations considerations and humanitarian concerns," the New York Times reported.

The Arizona law inspired legislatures across the country to crack down on illegal immigrants. After the law was passed, states in 2011 proposed a record-breaking 1,592 immigration bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Justice Department has challenged similar laws in Alabama, South Carolin and Utah. Laws in Georgia and Indiana are also under review.

EMAIL: estuart@desnews.com TWITTER: elizMstuart

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