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State-Level Immigration Laws Won’t Work

Laws like Arizona's S.B. 1070 will never fix our nation’s broken immigration system.

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All eyes will be on the Supreme Court when it hears arguments on the constitutionality of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, on Wednesday. S.B. 1070 goes far beyond federal law on immigration enforcement, making it a crime to be without legal status in the state and authorizing police to check the status of anyone they suspect to be in the country illegally.

The Court’s decision will determine whether the United States speaks with one voice on immigration or with 50 voices, and whether the nation will have a patchwork of state-level immigration laws—whereby some states welcome immigrants and some states reject them—or whether there will be one uniform immigration policy across the country.  

Laws like S.B. 1070 will never fix our nation’s broken immigration system. Here are the three main reasons why these state-level anti-immigrant bills don’t solve the problem:

  • Unauthorized immigrants aren’t actually aliens—they look like everyone else.
  • States can’t deport immigrants.
  • Unauthorized immigrants don’t leave the country, even in the face of harsh anti-immigrant laws.

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