Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the matter of Arizona’s immigration law SB1070, that the one key provision; requiring those stopped by law enforcement to provide proof of their legal presence in the country, is constitutional. The justices found against the other provisions, which are already provided for in federal law.
In reaction to their loss, the Obama administration announced that the Department of Homeland Security will revoke its 287(g) law enforcement task force agreements with Arizona law enforcement agencies. DHS officials have been directed not to respond to law enforcement activity unless the suspect meets federal enforcement priority guidelines, such as already being a convicted criminal or having reentered the country after a lawful removal.
The Arizona Governor reacted quickly to the administration’s move and the Court’s decision, “it appears the only agreements eliminated today were those in Arizona, the state that happens to be on the front lines of America’s fight against illegal immigration. We are on our own, apparently.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. The Obama administration has fought the people of Arizona at every turn – downplaying the threat that a porous border poses to our citizens, filing suit in order to block our State from protecting itself, unilaterally granting immunity to tens of thousands of illegal aliens living in our midst, and now this. Still, the disarmament of Arizona’s 287(g) agreements is a new low, even for this administration.”
The Supreme Court upheld the key component of the legislation, provision 2B, which enables law enforcement to inquire as to the immigration status of suspects already being questioned. The Court found that state and local law enforcement officers may make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration of a person during the course of an ordinary stop.
Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion of the 5-3 decision. Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito filed opinions in partial agreement with the majority. Thomas and Scalia wrote in support of all provisions of the law.
The three provisions that were ruled unconstitutional made the violations of federal law, violations of state law as well.
The state’s Governor, Jan Brewer, was pleased with the decision but said she anticipated more legal challenges, “ruling does not mark the end of our journey. It can be expected that legal challenges to SB 1070 and the State of Arizona will continue. Our critics are already preparing new litigation tactics in response to their loss at the Supreme Court, and undoubtedly will allege inequities in the implementation of the law. As I said two years ago on the day I signed SB 1070 into law, ‘We cannot give them that chance. We must use this new tool wisely, and fight for our safety with the honor Arizona deserves.”
Leaders across Arizona reacted to the decision:
Governor Brewer (R): “Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens. After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.”
Congressman Jeff Flake (R): “It’s troubling to me and to Arizonans that the Obama administration has wasted time and taxpayer money in court, rather than fulfilling its responsibility to secure the border. Arizona will have to continue to wait until we have an administration that will exert the leadership to do what needs to be done to secure the border.”
Congressman Raul Grijalva (D): “It was so significant today that the Department of Homeland Security announced it has terminated its 287(g) ‘task force’ agreements with Arizona’s law enforcement agencies. These steps mean that Arizonans will be protected from discriminatory or targeted enforcement actions by Arpaio and any other law enforcement agent tempted to ignore federal guidelines.”
Arizona Speaker of the House Andy Tobin: “As Arizona has been at the forefront of combating illegal immigration and other border crime, we have always hoped to have a willing law enforcement partner in the federal government. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has chosen to selectively enforce the law and aggressively subvert the state of Arizona as we strove to fill the enforcement gaps.
It is unfortunate the Obama Administration is not interested in enforcing the law and attempted, through Attorney General Holder, to prevent SB 1070 from being implemented. SB 1070 would not have been necessary had the administration been willing to support Arizona with appropriate enforcement strategies.”
State Senator Steve Gallardo (D): “This decision is a hug win, and we will continue to fight anti-immigration laws this coming year in the Legislature.”
State Senator Sylvia Allen (R): “As a proud supporter of SB1070, I was glad to see the Court uphold the most important aspect of the law—allowing local law enforcement to question someone’s immigration status during a lawful stop. I was saddened to see the Court strike down several other provisions of the law that made certain immigration-related activities state crimes.
To me and other policymakers concerned with the federal government’s total failure to protect our border, the issue boils down to whether states have the ability to protect their citizens.”
State Senator Jerry Lewis (R): “This mixed ruling by the Supreme Court demonstrates that now more than ever we need a permanent and complete immigration plan. Arizonans know that immigration was not the cause of all our problems and SB1070 was never intended to be the solution to all of our problems.
Regardless of how one feels about immigration, one thing is abundantly clear: we can do better. Instead of politicizing such a critically important issue, all of us–Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and Libertarians–should come together to find a permanent solution that keeps our border secure, strengthens our economy, strengthens families, and allows law-abiding immigrants who want to work to do so legally. As a state senator, I look forward to being a part of that solution.”
Rep. Martin Quezada (D): “This is a victory. Three of the four key provisions of this law were struck down. The last provision is hanging on by a thread. The majority of SB 1070 is unconstitutional and all of it is bad public policy. We must prevent bad legislation like SB 1070 from making its way through the process. We will work to repeal what’s left of this ineffective policy that divides our community. SB 1070 is an example of the extremist, Tea Party agenda that has been pervasive at the Arizona Legislature. Arizonans deserve better than this from their public servants.”
Rep. Catherine Miranda (D): “The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court today was disappointing and essentially legalizes racial profiling by allowing Section 2B of SB 1070 to move forward with implementation. Apparently, the court believes that Section 2B of SB 1070, on its face, is constitutional but left the door open for further review. The idea that law enforcement can be trained to digest, interpret and apply “reasonable suspicion” that a person is undocumented in compliance with our constitution is not realistic.”
Cochise Coutny Sheriff Larry Dever: “I consider it a win. The court’s decision won’t really change the way deputies patrol along the border, because they’ve been turning illegal immigrants over to federal authorities for decades. The ruling will be a deterrent for people to cross illegally in the first place.
One of the purposes of it was to deliver a very strong message to people coming into Arizona that this is not the place you want to come. So we anticipate reduced traffic across the border.”