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News Posted on June 28, 2012

Dean Johnson Comments on Supreme Court Immigration Ruling

Dean Kevin R. Johnson commented for a host of television, radio, internet, and print news outlets on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on Arizona's controversial SB 1070 immigration measure.  He also authored a commentary on the decision for SCOTUSblog, the leading blog on the Supreme Court.

The decision is "a limited victory" for states that want to regulate immigration, but "the width of the avenue the Court has left open is relatively narrow," he said in an interview with KPCC.  California is unlikely to attempt to pass a similar law in part because the state "learned its lesson" when a U.S. District Court overturned the state's anti-immigration Proposition 187 in 1997, and because politicians are unlikely to want to "alienate Latino voters when Latino voters are increasingly becoming part of the electorate," Dean Johnson said in an interview with KQED.

In his commentary for SCOTUSblog, Dean Johnson noted that the Court left open the possibility for future claims challenging the "show me your papers" provision on the grounds that it opens the door to the racial profiling of Latinos.

"In the end, the decision in Arizona v. United States centered on the power of the federal vis-à-vis state government over immigration," Dean Johnson wrote.  "However, many critics of the state immigration enforcement laws like those in Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina are less worried about state intrusion on federal power and much more concerned that the laws would encourage discrimination against Latinos, including lawful immigrants and U.S. citizens.  Ultimately, a gaping disconnect exists between the Court's resolution of the case on legal technicalities and the civil rights concerns of certain segments of the public."

Kevin R. Johnson is Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o studies at UC Davis School of Law. He is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of immigration law and policy, refugee law, and civil rights.