This morning the Supreme Court told Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama that state police can indeed check the immigration status of people they stop a big win for the Arizona Immigration law but for the rule of law through out the country. It is also a setback to the President’s open border policy.
Three provisions of the Arizona immigration law were struck down, but the most important provision (Section 2B) was upheld. That provision requires Arizona police to make a reasonable attempt, when practicable, to determine a person’s immigration status during a “lawful stop, detention, or arrest” if there is a reasonable suspicion “that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States.”
The Three parts struck down include, Section 3 which makes “willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document” a state crime; #5C which makes it a misdemeanor for “a person who is unlawfully present in the United States and who is an unauthorized alien to knowingly apply for work, solicit work in a public place, or perform work as an employee or independent contractor in the state; and #6 which authorizes state and local officers to make arrests without warrant where there is probable cause to believe “the person to be arrested has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.”
Five justices were in the majority choosing to strike down the three provisions. Two dissenting justices—Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas—argued that the whole law should have been upheld, while a third dissenter, Justice Samuel Alito, would have upheld three provisions and struck down one.
In his decision Justice Kennedy said,
“The national government has significant power to regulate immigration,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermined federal law.”
In his dissent Justice Scalia argued:
“If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign state”
Gov. Brewer called the decision “a victory for the rule of law.” She said she recently issued a new order to train officers to enforce the law without racial profiling. “I am confident our officers are prepared to carry out this law responsibly and lawfully,” she said in a statement:
“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.
“While we are grateful for this legal victory, today is an opportunity to reflect on our journey and focus upon the true task ahead: the implementation and enforcement of this law in an even-handed manner that lives up to our highest ideals as American citizens. I know the State of Arizona and its law enforcement officers are up to the task. The case for SB 1070 has always been about our support for the rule of law. That means every law, including those against both illegal immigration and racial profiling. Law enforcement will be held accountable should this statute be misused in a fashion that violates an individual’s civil rights.
The upholding of section 2B means the court believes that the states have a role in enforcing immigration laws, the striking down of the other three means that states cannot go beyond the federal regulations. Other states will probably follow Arizona’s lead and craft bills that meet with the court’s decisions.
On the other hand just because a state detains someone as an illegal alien it does not mean that the Obama Administration will take him or her into custody. But that also has some dangers for the administration, as any crime henceforth will be on “their heads.” Each time Arizona contacts ICE about an illegal alien they detained there will be a public record. If the Obama-led Ice refuses to take that illegal alien into custody Arizona will be forced to release that illegal alien back out onto the streets. If that illegal alien goes on to create a violent or other serious crime, it will become a national story that even the liberal media will be reluctant to ignore.
Hours before the Supreme Court announced its decision; Rasmussen announced the results of a survey that said Americans approved of the Arizona Law by a margin of 55% to 26%:
“Most voters still want an immigration law like Arizona’s in their own state and hope the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the legality of the Arizona law this week. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% of Likely U.S. Voters would like to see the Supreme Court uphold the law that Arizona adopted to reduce illegal immigration in the state. Just 26% would like to see the high court overturn the law. Nineteen percent (19%) are undecided.”
In other recent Rasmussen research 58% of voters believe that securing the borders should come before any amnesty decision on the illegal’s here in the U.S. and by a margin of 56% to 27% they believe that the Obama administration’s lax policy on illegal immigration encourages more illegal immigration.
I would go beyond that. Any time a government refuses to enforce the rule of law it encourages more lawlessness. The controversy over illegal immigration has nothing to do with ethnicity or immigration as a whole. This is a nation of immigrants, but when my grandparents came here to America they came here legally. If we want to let more people into the country, change the laws—get rid of the restrictions. But until that happens it is the job of our President and our Attorney General to enforce the laws of this country, in the case of illegal immigration they are doing a very poor job!
UPDATE: Obama Takes His Ball and Goes Home
Now he will make sure that states don’t stop illegal immigration:
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on Arizona’s immigration law, Obama administration officials announced Monday they are suspending a key program that allowed state and local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law.
The move further weakens efforts by Arizona and other states to take the reins on immigration enforcement.
The high court decision Monday struck down three provisions in Arizona’s law but left in place a central plank that required local law enforcement during routine stops to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally.
Obama administration officials and congressional Democrats immediately raised concerns this could lead to “racial profiling,” though Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer adamantly denies it. To address those concerns, Obama administration officials moved Monday to pull back on enforcement cooperation with local jurisdictions — meaning that even if local police step up immigration checks, they’ll have to rely on federal officials to make the arrests.
Federal officials said the program known as 287(g) would be immediately suspended. That program was a partnership between federal and local governments, and allowed local authorities to make immigration-based arrests.
Officials also said Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be selective in responding to the expected increase in calls from Arizona and other police agencies about immigration status of people they pull over. Officials said ICE will not respond to the scene unless the person in question meets certain criteria — such as being wanted for a felony.