Civil Liberties

Bail for Immigrants

Arizona reversal


Another controversial Arizona immigration policy has been struck down. In October, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that denying bail to illegal immigrants charged with Class 4 felonies was an unconstitutional violation of their due process rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought the suit, arguing that the law presumed the guilt of defendants and punished them before trial. The en banc panel of judges agreed with the ACLU, overturning an earlier decision that had upheld the law.

The court also argued that the law was unnecessary, citing a lack of evidence of higher truancy rates among undocumented arrestees than legal residents.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has vowed to appeal the ruling, promising to petition the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

In 2012, that Court ruled against parts of the state's anti-immigration laws that, among other things, gave law enforcement officials the power to arrest an individual under mere suspicion of being an illegal alien. The courts have also upheld an injunction against the part of the law that made it a crime for an illegal immigrant to solicit or perform paid work. But some controversial aspects of the law have passed constitutional muster, including a provision requiring police to check immigration statuses in certain circumstances.