March 3: The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday widened the ability of states to use criminal laws against illegal immigrants and other people who do not have work authorisation in the United States in a ruling involving identity theft prosecutions in Kansas.

In the decision, the justices upheld the authority of states to prosecute immigrants for identity theft when applying for a job. The court found that Kansas did not unlawfully encroach on federal authority over immigration policy in charging three men accused of using other people’s Social Security numbers.

President Donald Trump’s administration backed Kansas in the case. Trump has made his hardline policies toward immigration a centrepiece of his presidency and 2020 re-election campaign. Kansas is one of several conservative states that have sought to crack down on illegal immigrants.

The justices overturned a 2017 Kansas Supreme Court decision that had voided the convictions of the three restaurant workers, finding that a 1986 federal law called the Immigration Reform and Control Act did not prevent states from pursuing such prosecutions.

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