Immigrant bail law denied by SCOTUS

Advocates of comprehensive immigration reform received some good news this week in the form of the Supreme Court of the United States striking down an Arizona amendment that it labeled as unjust. According to USA Today, the amendment in question served to deny bail to undocumented immigrants arrested in Arizona on serious felony charges. Considering the implication of bail, had the amendment maintained in law it would mean that undocumented immigrants could spend unspecified lengths of time in jail awaiting trial. While reactions to the ruling have been divided, advocates of reform seem to believe that it is a strong step to giving undocumented immigrants in Arizona a fairer shake in the legal system.

“The law denied bail to undocumented immigrants with felony charges.”

The amendment
The amendment in question first passed into law in 2006. It was met with challenges almost immediately from a range of conscientious objectors. Ultimately, the law was labeled as unconstitutional by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October of 2014, according to Yahoo. Following disagreements over that ruling, the amendment eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where its fate was decided on Monday, June 1, 2015.

While the banning of the amendment has been well received among advocates of immigration reform, it may not meet as much welcome in its state of origin. When the amendment to Arizona’s state constitution was first approved, it was voted on by nearly 80 percent of voters. In a statement to Yahoo, the American Civil Liberties Union was quick to point out that the law was the only one of its kind and that it allowed for “a categorical prohibition on bail that applies to hundreds of charged felony offenses, including nonviolent offenses that often result in noncustodial sentences.”