Scholar Available to Discuss Supreme Court Hearing on Arizona Immigration Law

UC Riverside political scientist Karthick Ramakrishnan is an expert on the politics of immigration in U.S. policymaking.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on April 25 that will impact immigration laws in many states and set a precedent for whether jurisdiction for the creation and enforcement of U.S. immigration laws falls with the federal government or with individual states.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside and a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., is available to comment on the politics of immigration in U.S. policymaking.

Karthick Ramakrishnan

Karthick Ramakrishnan

The Supreme Court will consider Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 and whether or not a state government can engage in immigration enforcement without the explicit consent of the federal government. Lower courts have blocked some key provisions of the Arizona law, including one that requires residents to carry proof of their legal immigration status, and another that requires law enforcement officers to check on the immigration status of anyone they stop.

“This case could have a big impact on the November election,” Ramakrishnan said. “Mitt Romney has declared that he would allow state laws like Arizona’s SB1070 to stand, and President Obama has opposed such laws. Regardless of how the Supreme Court decides, if Romney continues to voice support for these laws, he will find it difficult to win Latino supporters. A Fox News Latino poll in March showed Romney with only 14 percent support among Latinos, and he needs to improve his standing among that community, particularly to win states like Florida, Colorado, and Nevada.”

The political scientist said that Arizona will argue that its measures complement federal enforcement, while the federal government will argue that Arizona’s law runs contrary to federal enforcement policies. “Perhaps more centrally, the Department of Justice will argue that immigration enforcement is exclusively under federal control—similar to foreign policy—and the federal government has not given Arizona the authority to practice enforcement along the lines outlined in the state’s SB1070 law.”

 

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