“Innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t apply to everyone in America. On October 15th, another immigration law in Arizona was denied by the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals. Many people might remember Proposition 100; a law that was passed in November 2006 during the height of the anti-immigration sentiment. Although 4 out of 5 voters voted for Proposition 100 eight years ago, it was during a time when the country held an entirely different state of mind.
Proposition 100 denies bond to any undocumented immigrant that is charged with a “serious” crime. Serious crimes are those that are categorized as Class 4 felonies or higher (Class 1, 2, 3 or 4). The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged the enforcement of this proposition, dubbing the law unconstitutional. The US Constitution guarantees that every person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty; therefore, the immigration law’s denial of bond is unconstitutional.
The Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project argues that “the court has restored to Arizona the fundamental constitutional principle that each person is entitled to an individual hearing in court before they are locked up while awaiting trial”. Arizona is enforcing punishment before trial which is against the Constitution.
The ACLU argued with the state that undocumented immigrants are a high flight risk and enforce Proposition 100 to protect the victims of crimes. By creating a ‘victim class of criminals’ the government has the ability to better protect the public. Although the motives seem good, we cannot continue to deny detained immigrants their constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial and being ‘innocent until proven guilty’.