Another Blow for the Undocumented Immigrants of Arizona

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Clarissa Garcia, Staff Writer

The blows began in 2010 when a law was passed, prohibiting a progressive Mexican-American Studies curriculum. Even Jan Brewer (R), the Governor at the time, refused to allow immigrants with a newly legal status (they obtained legal status under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action Program) to obtain driver’s licenses. Also in 2010, the state of Arizona shocked the United States and its people with the issuance of its law, SB 1070, whose aim was to enforce restrictions on undocumented immigrants. One of the requirements of the law was that immigrants had to carry documentation with them at all times. Now less than two years after the Supreme Court nullified multiple sections of this controversial law, another proposal has risen.

State Representative Carl Seel (R-Phoenix) has proposed a bill that would deem it illegal for undocumented immigrants to receive any public benefits, including attending public school or using the public road. Failure to adhere to this law would result in a misdemeanor for first offense and a felony for subsequent offense; driving while being undocumented would end in forfeiture of the car. This idea is not new to the people of Arizona for in 2011 a similar bill was offered in which undocumented students were banned from attending public schools or community colleges and limited other public spaces and services; fortunately this bill failed.  

Likewise, Seel lacks the support that former Senator Russell Pearce (R-Mesa) had for passing the SB 1070. Nonetheless, he claims that the proposal is “… a continuation of the proper role of the state government in relationship to the federal government and enforcing immigration law.” While it is essential that state governments can have a say in the fate of their states, these promulgations must comply with what has already been established by the federal government. In this case, the proposal both violates and contradicts the federal law.   

A 1982 Supreme Court ruling highlighted that denying public education to undocumented immigrants was a violation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which guaranteed equal protection under the law to all peoples. Thus, denying undocumented immigrants access to public facilities such as public schools and colleges would be unacceptable, let alone possible. Additionally, the 2012 Supreme Court’s ruling on the law SB 1070 stated that Arizona could “partner with the federal government and enforce existing immigration laws, but could not establish its own immigration policies that contradict the federal law.” In other words, the likelihood of this potential “law” to be issued is slim to none.

Clarissa Garcia is a Staff Writer for Latino Giant. She is a college freshman currently Undecided at American University, but leaning to the Education field, looking into Secondary Education.

Source: Huffington Post