History should show the Supreme Court how to rule on Arizona’s immigration law

May 3, 2012

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(AP/Matt York)
Protesters march against Arizona's immigration law, SB1070, last week in Phoenix. Supreme Court justices strongly suggested that they are ready to allow Arizona to enforce part of the controversial state law.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on Arizona’s controversial immigration law known as SB 1070 in June.  Essentially the law makes it a crime to live and work in Arizona illegally.  It was put into legislative limbo after it was blocked by a federal judge in 2010.

Arizona is not the first state to try to control immigration policy.  Historian Paul Kramer believes that a 19th century case that involved 22 Chinese women shows the court how to deal with Arizona’s law. He’s written about the case in Slate. He discusses the case and its relevance today.