Protesters at a rally in March calling on Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to veto a slew of immigration-related bills.
Protesters at a rally in March calling on Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to veto a slew of immigration-related bills.
Elizabeth Stuart

Eight Times U.S. Judges Squashed Arizona's Attempts to Clamp Down on Immigration

When the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a permanent injunction last week blocking former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's executive order denying driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants with work permits, it felt a little bit like deja vu. 

As Congress continues to stall on comprehensive reform, more and more states are grappling for control over immigration, clogging up the courts with questions about who has power to regulate what. Arizona's not the only state on the docket — or, perhaps, even the most frequent — says Annie Lai, a law professor at the University of California-Irvine, but the state's had its fair share of battles over the topic. 

Here are eight times U.S. courts rebuffed Arizona's attempts to crack down on illegal immigration:

Russell Pearce, recalled former president of the Arizona Senate, was one of the most prominent supporters of Proposition 200.
Russell Pearce, recalled former president of the Arizona Senate, was one of the most prominent supporters of Proposition 200.

8. The state, through the Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, or Proposition 200, in 2004 tried to require people to provide "satisfactory evidence" of U.S. citizenship to vote. But in 2013, the Supreme Court determined doing so wasn't allowed under the National Voter Registration Act.

Sign near the U.S./Mexico border warning motorists to watch out for fleeing immigrants.
Sign near the U.S./Mexico border warning motorists to watch out for fleeing immigrants.
James Steidl / Shutterstock

7. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton in 2014 struck down Arizona's 2005 attempt to make smuggling people across the border a state crime, determining that it infringed upon the U.S. government's power to enforce immigration law. 

Immigrants were denied bond.
Immigrants were denied bond.
Shutterstock

6. In 2006, Arizona voters approved a law, known as Proposition 100, that denied bond to undocumented immigrants charged with "serious crimes." In 2014, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it unconstitutional

Demonstrators in Phoenix scaled a downtown crane to protest SB 1070 in July 2010.
Demonstrators in Phoenix scaled a downtown crane to protest SB 1070 in July 2010.
Puente Arizona / Creative Commons

5. In June 2012, the Supreme Court nixed Arizona's 2010 attempt, as part of Senate Bill 1070, to make it a state crime to be in Arizona without valid immigration papers. 

Immigrant workers at a masonry factory.
Immigrant workers at a masonry factory.
the24studio / Shutterstock

4. The Supreme Court, in 2012, also overturned a section of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 that made it a state crime to apply for or hold a job without proper immigration papers. 

SB 1070 wanted certain immigrants arrested without a warrant.
SB 1070 wanted certain immigrants arrested without a warrant.
AstroStar / Shutterstock

3. As part of SB 1070, Arizona also tried to empower local and state police to arrest people, without a warrant, if the officers believes they had, at some point, committed a crime worthy of deportation. But, in a 2012 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that unconstitutional, too. (Several provisions of SB 1070 still are in litigation.) 

Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Elizabeth Stuart

2. After Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio attempted to take immigration enforcement into his own hands with a series of so-called "crime-suppression sweeps," the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit in 2007 accusing the department of engaging in racial profiling. After a bench trial, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow in 2013 determined Arpaio and his posse had violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and ordered them to halt the sweeps. (Arpaio now faces contempt charges for defying the court's order). 

A rally outside the Arizona Capitol in March protesting state immigration bills.
A rally outside the Arizona Capitol in March protesting state immigration bills.
Elizabeth Stuart

1. Arizona tried in 2008 to stretch the crime of identity theft to include everyone from forgers to people simply seeking employment without valid documentation. A coalition of immigrant advocates, with help from the U.C.-Irvine Immigrant Rights Clinic, sued, and, in 2015, U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in 2015 ordered the state (most notably Arpaio, who was using the law to conduct workplace raids) to halt enforcement. The U.S. Ninth Circuit now is mulling whether to make the injunction permanent. 

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