About two years ago Republican Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona legislature passed a bill making it legal for local police to stop people and make inquiries about their immigration status. The US Constitution specifies that matters of immigration shall come under the purview of the Federal Government only. As a result, the Attorney General of the United States challenged the Arizona law on constitutional grounds and a federal judge invalidated portions of the law which encroached on areas that fall under the exclusive power of the Federal Government. The state of Arizona appealed that decision and now the matter is going before the US Supreme Court.
The outcome of this decision is being watched closely by those who are concerned with the treatment of illegal immigrants as well as other groups who are generally concerned with the treatment of Latinos by authorities in the United States. The fear these groups have is that individuals will be singled out by police for being Latino- something clearly unconstitutional. In addition, the argument is being made that it makes little sense for local and federal authorities to have overlapping jurisdiction.