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Hot Topic: Immigration ( Wayne College ): Case Law & Regulations

This guide explores and provides a starting point for your research on immigration law and the history of immigration

Case Law

Scott v. Sanford, 1857

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the Court ruled that African Americans, whether enslaved or free, were not citizens of the United States and therefore did not have the right to sue in federal court. The Court also ruled that the federal government could not prohibit slavery in the territories. The decision was a prime factor leading to the Civil War, but was eventually rendered moot by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- which provides that anyone born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen of the nation and of his or her state.

Elks v. Wilkins 112 U.S. 94 (1884 )

In this case the Supreme Court Determined that a Native American Named John Eil could be denied citizenship despite his birth on U.S. soil and his request for citizenship rights. He was to be considered, instead , a member of a distinct foreign community with with the U.S. Congress maintained treaty relations.

United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898)

"All person born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

Graham v. Department of Pub. Welfare, 403 U.S. 365 (1971) 

Resident non-citizens have access to rights under the Equal Protection Clause, and a state law that discriminates against them must be justified by a compelling state interest to be valid.

Fiallo v. Bell, 430 U.S. 787 (1977)

The Supreme Court held that it was constitutional for Congress to grant special preference immigration status to legitimate children and their parents, or illegitimate children and their mothers, while excluding illegitimate children and their fathers.

Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982)

A state cannot prevent children of undocumented immigrants from attending public school unless a substantial state interest is involved.

Arizona v. United States, 567 U.S. 387 (2012)

Supreme Court case involving Arizona's S.B. 1070, a state law intended to increase the powers of local law enforcement who wished to enforce federal immigration laws. Federal law implicitly preempts state law if the state law is either complementary to or a hindrance to the rules laid out by the federal government in an area that its legislation completely covers.

United States Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of University of California, 591 U.S.--- (2020)

Supreme Court case that ruled on the 2017 U.S. Department of Homeland Security order to rescind the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program established in 2012. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that the rescission of the DACA was "arbitrary and capricious" under the Administrative Procedure Act and reversed the order.

ProQuest Supreme Court Insights