Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act of 2010 (also known as S.B. 1070) was a highly controversial piece of immigration legislation in the state of Arizona. The bill was enacted in response to years of increasing illegal immigration to the state, and many in Arizona believed illegal immigrants to be the cause of violent crime rates. To counteract these claims, the state enacted S.B. 1070 which contained many drastic changes to state immigration laws which led to criticism and legal challenges leading parts of the bill to be overturned by the Supreme Court. One of the biggest critiques of the bill was that the provisions allowing officers to arrest based upon “suspicion” of illegal status would lead to racial profiling.
Many of the most contested provisions were overturned by the Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States as being preempted by Federal law. Section 3 of the Act, which made the failure by immigrants to be properly registered a misdemeanor, was found to be preempted by the Federal regulations on registration. The Supreme Court overruled Section 5(C), which made it a criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to become employed in Arizona, because Congress specifically chose not to impose criminal charges for such an offense. Lastly, the Supreme Court found Section 6, which allowed state officers to arrest immigrants based upon suspicions without a warrant, to be preempted by Congress’ choice to give immigration officers discretion on when to arrest. The Supreme Court chose not to find Section 2(B), which required officers to check immigration status when stopping or detaining someone, preempted as its enforcement was not clear at the time of the case, but the state eventually repealed the section in response to later lawsuits by civil rights organizations. For more detailed information on Arizona v. United States, click here.
[Last updated in March of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]