WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will struggle this week with the validity of an Arizona law that tries to keep illegal immigrants from voting by demanding all state residents show documents proving their U.S. citizenship before registering to vote in national elections.
The high court will hear arguments Monday over the legality of Arizona’s voter-approved requirement that prospective voters document their U.S. citizenship in order to use a registration form produced under the federal “Motor Voter” voter registration law that doesn’t require such documentation.
This case focuses on voter registration in Arizona, which has tangled frequently with the federal government over immigration issues involving the Mexican border. But it has broader implications because four other states — Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee — have similar requirements, and 12 other states are contemplating similar legislation, officials say.
The Obama administration is supporting challengers to the law.
By Kristin M. Hall, Associated Press
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Hundreds of people became naturalized U.S. citizens during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Middle Tennessee State University on the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
About 300 men and women who have immigrated to Tennessee from all over the world gathered to take the naturalization oath on Constitution Day, 225 years after the ratification of the rules that dictate the powers of the federal government.
Normally these ceremonies are held in the federal courthouse in downtown Nashville, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe B. Brown held the court session in the large university gymnasium in front of family and friends of the newest U.S. citizens.
Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade spoke about the history of the Constitution and its amendments.
A Tennessee bill that requires police to arrest people involved in serious car accidents but don’t have a driver’s license and proof of insurance is awaiting the governor’s signature, reports the Chattanooga TFP. A companion bill, one that would set a higher bail for those who, in addition to being involved in the serious accident, turn out to be in the country illegally, is still in the House Finance Subcommittee, according to its sponsor, Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas. The bill is set to be heard next week.
Carr said both bills were prompted by an accident in the Nashville area two years ago in which a motorcyclist was killed and his daughter injured when a driver switched lanes without seeing them.
The driver, who didn’t have a driver’s license or insurance, was given only a citation for driving without a license, a misdemeanor. He also was suspected of being in the country illegally, but police weren’t able to determine whether that was true because officers only can check someone’s legal status once the person is arrested.
“Basically, the bill says a police officer shall arrest the individual in such cases where they don’t have a driver’s license or proof of insurance and serious bodily injury or death occur,” said Carr.
— Note: The first bill referenced is HB2466, entitled “The Ricky Otts Act.” The second is HB2678.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that seeks to regulate charter schools’ use of non-immigrant foreign workers has passed the Senate.
The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro was approved 18-13 on Thursday. A House floor vote on the companion bill was delayed until next week.
Under the proposal, a chartering authority may not approve a charter school application if the proposed charter school plans to hire a certain number of foreign workers from H1B or J-1 visa programs.
Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville called the measure discriminatory and says it prevents charter schools from employing the “best and the brightest” who may be legal residents.
However, Ketron said the measure is intended to encourage charter schools to hire from within Tennessee first.