High court to consider Ariz. migrant law

Kagan recuses herself

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But lawyers who drafted the state legislation said the laws themselves complement, rather than clash with, federal law. They also said it is federal law as written by Congress, not the current administration’s priorities, that the courts should examine to determine whether states are interfering.

Arizona’s law had far-reaching consequences, including a boycott of the state’s businesses, led by the National Council of La Raza and other groups. The National Council of La Raza announced in September that it was calling off the boycott, though some other groups have said their calls remain in place.

Alabama’s law went further than Arizona’s by requiring public schools to check the legal status of students enrolled there — though it wouldn’t deny them the right to attend school, even if they were in the country illegally.

An appeals court has blocked that provision, and the state’s attorney general, Luther Strange, has suggested that lawmakers repeal that part of the law, along with another part that requires all legal immigrants and visitors to carry their papers with them. Federal law also requires legal immigrants to carry their proof of legal status.

Mrs. Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, said a court ruling striking down state laws could force Congress to take up a broad overhaul of immigration laws. Congress has tried major overhauls twice in the past five years, but each time it fell short as proponents couldn’t agree among themselves on what to include.

Arizona, which has been ground zero for illegal immigration over the past 15 years, has been a trailblazer in state action to try to combat it.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court upheld another of those attempts that required businesses in the state to use E-Verify, the federal government’s voluntary system for checking employees’ Social Security numbers, to determine whether their new hires are legal workers.

In that case, the justices said a 1986 law specifically gave states the ability to write their own business-licensing schemes when it comes to immigration.

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