ACLU Staff Attorney Andre Segura '06 assesses Supreme Court hearing on Arizona v. United States

The Supreme Court just heard arguments on Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law in Arizona v. United States. Earlier in April, as part of the Bickel & Brewer Latino Institute for Human Rights lunchtime speaker series, Andre Segura ’06, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), analyzed the case. 

"Arizona is really arguing for this radical revision of states’ rights in terms of immigration law,” Segura said. He noted that four provisions of the 2010 law are under consideration by the Court: requiring an officer conducting a lawful stop to attempt to verify a subject's immigration status;  making an immigrant's failure to register or carry registration documents a crime; criminalizing the act of seeking employment or soliciting employment by unauthorized workers; and allowing state officers to make warrantless arrests for civil immigration violations.

The federal government, explained Segura, contends that Arizona's law is preempted by federal law. “As stated concisely in their brief, the United States argues that Arizona has adopted its own immigration policy, which focuses solely on maximum enforcement and pays no heed to the multi-faceted judgments that congress has entrusted in the federal government, and for each state and each locality to set its own immigration policy in that fashion would wholly subvert congress’s goal: a single national approach,”  he said. “It’s very simple—we can’t have a patchwork of 50 immigration laws, or more.”

The ACLU contributed one of the 19 amicus briefs filed for the United States in this case. Nancy Morawetz is the counsel of record on another amicus brief, filed by a coalition of civil rights, faith, and community organizations. Bickel & Brewer scholar Jordan Wells '13, who worked with Morawetz on the brief, discussed their argument:  “Our goal was to show how implementation of those provisions, even accepting the law at its face, not assuming the worst of Arizona law enforcement," he said, "would impact citizens, lawful permanent residents, and folks with claims to status in harmful ways that the federal government wouldn’t have them impacted."  

Posted April 25, 2012