Yesterday, the US Supreme Court handed down their decision on Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB1070 and both sides are claiming victory.
One of the provisions that the court upheld was the highly controversial right of law enforcement officers to ask people about their legal status (citizen, green card, illegal) during any legitimate traffic stops or arrests.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, hailed this part of the court’s decision as a victory for his state as well, saying,
“Today’s ruling from the United States Supreme Court in the Arizona immigration case contains a major victory for law enforcement in South Carolina.”
“The most important element of South Carolina’s [immigration] law, the ability of law enforcement to verify a suspected illegal alien’s status upon an ‘authorized lawful detention,’ was found to be Constitutional on its face.”
However, SCOTUS did strike down a significant part of SB 1070 because they intruded into federal jurisdiction where they had no right to tread. In the court’s decision, Judge Anthony Kennedy wrote,
“Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration … but the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law,”
However, Justice Kennedy did say that the mandatory check of immigration status by law enforcement officers was not an intrusion into the federal immigration laws. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer still saw the decision as a victory, saying,
“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.”
In a co-authored statement released on behalf of Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyle, it read,
“While we still want to fully review the Supreme Court’s decision, today’s ruling appears to validate a key component of Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070. The Arizona law was born out of the state’s frustration with the burdens that illegal immigration and continued drug smuggling impose on its schools, hospitals, criminal justice system and fragile desert environment, and an administration that chooses to set enforcement policies based on a political agenda, not the laws as written by Congress. We will continue our efforts on behalf of the citizens of Arizona to secure our southern border. We believe Arizonans are better served when state and federal officials work as partners to protect our citizens rather than as litigants in a courtroom.”
While I’m glad to see that Arizona law enforcement officers will be mandated to prove when someone is a legal US citizen, here on a green card or is in need of being detained and deported for being here illegally. On flip side, it galls me to see the high court strike down three key provisions because it intrudes into the legal domain reserved by the federal government, especially when the Obama and Holder have stated publicly that they do not intend to enforce all of the federal immigration laws.
I also wonder how many times the Hispanics in Arizona will scream racial profiling when they are stopped and questioned about their status. Even though police will be following the mandate of the law upheld by the Supreme Court, I can still see Obama and Holder using it for more ammunition against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his department.
After all, according to the statistics reported by Newsmax, about 360,000 of the Arizona’s 2 million Hispanics are illegals. Having lived in Arizona for over 35 years, I believe the 360,000 figure is low, but even if it is, that’s 18% or nearly 1 of every 5 Latino is an illegal. Let me put it another way, if you knew that 1 of every 5 people that drove a white van was a guilty of committing a federal crime, wouldn’t you be curious and asking questions to find out who?
What everyone seems to forget that being in the United States illegally is a federal crime and just like any other federal crime, the person needs to be arrested and held accountable for breaking the law. I’ve had people tell me that it’s different with immigration, but is it? What if you owned a small grocery store and your livelihood depended on people being law abiding citizens who paid for their purchases. But what if 18% of those who came into your store took merchandise without paying for it? You wouldn’t be happy nor would you be in business very long. That’s exactly what’s happening with illegal aliens. They are coming into our country illegally, stealing our jobs and all of the free benefits the government gives them that you and I are paying for. There is no difference between the two and they should all be treated equally under the law.