The US Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of Arizona’s 2010 anti-immigration law SB 1070. Although a ruling is not expected until June, there is a widespread sense that the Court will uphold the law’s central component. While this current case turns on state vs. federal control over immigration policy, some speculate that if the law is upheld appeals will be filed based on issues of racial/ethnic discrimination.
The case is being watched closely, by states that have enacted or are considering similar pieces of legislation, by immigrants rights groups, and by agricultural and business organizations that have raised increasing concerns over the laws’ unintended economic consequences.
Meanwhile, immigration continues to play a central role as the presidential campaigns get fully underway. Marco Rubio, Republic senator from Florida, campaigned with Mitt Romney ahead of what some predict will be a vice presidential candidate. The move is seen by many as an attempt to bring Latino voters into the Republican party, despite polling showing 70% support for Obama.
Obama’s campaign – seeking to ensure that Latino supporters are not prohibited from registering or voting in November – is responding to the numerous new voter registration laws in states like Florida by providing training for campaign workers to guarantee that registration drives are in compliance.
A report released by the Pew Hispanic Center shows that Mexican immigration to the US has slowed significantly, reversing a decades long trend. The causes of this include discriminatory laws, increased border security and deportation, high unemployment, and declining birth rates, among others. However, while the overall trend in immigration is shifting, significant challenges remain; this year found a large increase in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, straining the capacity of the shelter and legal system to provide adequate services and legal rights to these minors.