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- 06-25-2012, 02:04 PM #1
U.S. Supreme Court upholds police immigration status checks in Arizona law, offers st
U.S. Supreme Court upholds police immigration status checks in Arizona law, offers states narrow role in immigration enforcement (Updated)
Published: Monday, June 25, 2012,
By Brian Lawson, The Huntsville Times
The Supreme Court of the United States. (AP)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Supreme Court today gave a split ruling on Arizona's tough illegal immigration law, a decision that will reverberate in Alabama.
The court blocked most of the law, but upheld the section that directs police officers to check immigration status during an arrest or other contact. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the court's opinion.
"The National Government has significant power to regulate immigration. With power comes responsibility, and the sound exercise of national power over immigration depends on the Nation's meeting its responsibility to base its laws on a political will informed by searching, thoughtful, rational civic discourse," Kennedy wrote. "Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law."
Four justices voted with Kennedy, while three agreed in part and dissented in part. Justice Elena Kagan recused.
Justice Antonin Scalia disagreed with striking down provisions of the Arizona law.
"The Government complains that state officials might not heed 'federal priorities.' Indeed they might not, particularly if those priorities include willful blindness or delib- erate inattention to the presence of removable aliens in Arizona," Scalia wrote. "The State's whole complaint--the reason this law was passed and this case has arisen--is that the citizens of Arizona believe federal priorities are too lax. The State has the sovereign power to protect its borders more rigorously if it wishes, absent any valid federal prohibition. The Executive's policy choice of lax federal enforcement does not constitute such a prohibition."
The court found that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals should not have blocked the law enforcement status checks prior to a showing that it does conflict with federal law.
Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard cited that part of the decision is calling the ruling a victory for states like Alabama.
"The Court's decision to uphold the real teeth of Arizona's illegal immigration law is a victory for Alabama and for all states that are fed up with the federal government's refusal to enforce the law," Hubbard said in a news release. "States really are the last line of defense to protect the rights of the people, and never has that been more evident than with President Obama ordering federal agents to stand down on immigration enforcement actions. States have not only the right, but the duty to uphold the rule of law and protect their citizens, especially when the federal government refuses to do so."
"The Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center, which is among the groups involved in the lawsuit opposing Alabama's immigration law, said the decision represented progress in rolling back state immigration laws.
"Today's decision is a blow to Arizona's anti-immigrant law and similar copycat laws that have sprung up in other states," said Mary Bauer, legal director for the SPLC. "The court's decision affirms that much of these laws are unconstitutional because they are preempted by federal law and that they have significant concerns about the one provision they allowed to stand.
""The one thing that is clear from today's ruling is that the fight against these hateful anti-immigrant laws are far from over."
Like Alabama, Arizona has argued that states have a role to play in immigration law enforcement.
The court rejected the arguments made by Arizona -- and also made by Alabama -- that creating separate state laws for federal immigration violations does not conflict with federal law.
In dealing with Arizona's requirement that an alien must carry paperwork showing legal status, the court found that Arizona could not add state criminal charges.
"Arizona contends that (the carrying papers section) can survive preemption because the provision has the same aim as federal law and adopts its substantive standards," Kennedy wrote. "This argument not only ignores the basic premise of field preemption -- that States may not enter, in any respect, an area the Federal Government has reserved for itself -- but also is unpersuasive on its own terms.
"Permitting the State to impose its own penalties for the federal offenses here would conflict with the careful framework Congress adopted."
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said the state would study Monday's ruling.
"While Alabama's anti-illegal immigration law has similar provisions as Arizona's law, the laws are not identical," Bentley said. "We will analyze the Supreme Court opinion to see what potential effect it might have on the provisions of Alabama's law. State laws on immigration are required because the federal government has refused to enforce its own immigration policies. The bottom line to Alabama's law is this: if you live and work in the state, you must do so legally. The people of Alabama want a strong immigration law, and I will keep my commitment to uphold and enforce Alabama's anti-illegal immigration law.
"The core of Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law remains. The Supreme Court has affirmed that states can determine how they will interpret and enforce their anti-illegal immigration laws. We are pleased that the Court recognizes the important roles of states in enforcing immigration laws."
The American Civil Liberties Union said the fight against the Arizona law and similar measures will continue.
"The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the 'show me your papers' provision for now will lead to widespread civil rights violations until it is reviewed again and possibly struck down," ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said. "Today's decision is an invitation for more litigation, while civil rights are inevitably violated
The court's decision will serve as a guide for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel that heard challenges to Alabama and Georgia's immigration laws March 1.
Arizona's law is not as far-reaching as Alabama's, but both measures require law enforcement to conduct immigration status checks during traffic stops and arrests for unrelated reasons.
Both Arizona and Alabama's laws also contain a section criminalizing job-seeking by day laborers.
Like in the Alabama case, the U.S. Department of Justice sued to block Arizona's law from going into effect. A lower court and a federal appeals court sided with the Justice Department and blocked Arizona's law.
Arizona had made it a crime for a person not to carry an alien registration card, barred illegal immigrants from seeking work and directed law enforcement to make arrests if a person was suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. Arizona spelled out the law's intent in the introduction.
"The legislature declares that the intent of this act is to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona,'' according to the bill's Section 1.
Arizona's attorneys have argued the laws are necessary to help the state deal with the flow of illegal immigrants and that the laws are complementary to federal law. In both cases, the Justice Department has disagreed, arguing immigration law is the exclusive province of the federal government.
U.S. Supreme Court upholds police immigration status checks in Arizona law, offers states narrow role in immigration enforcement (Updated) | al.com
- 06-25-2012, 05:36 PM #2
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- 06-25-2012, 06:39 PM #3
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- Jan 2012
The decision in PDF:
The justices struck down three other parts of the law:
- One making it a crime for an illegal immigrant to work or to seek work in Arizona;
- One which authorized state and local officers to arrest people without a warrant if the officers have probable cause to believe a person is an illegal immigrant;
- And one that made it a state requirement for immigrants to register with the federal government.
- 06-25-2012, 07:31 PM #4
After reading the decision I think that what MUST be focused on NOW is that we hold the FEDS Accountable for all this CRAP. If states cannot protect themselves then WE MUST HAVE the FEDS ENFORCE the laws to protect it's citizens. The court said it that states cannot pre-empt federal laws, so lets make them EAT THOSE WORDS.
Time to start a new game plan,
Lets disect the ruleing and take out every judgement from each Judge that says the Feds have the responsibility to enforce the laws and BLAST the HECK out of DC over it.
Yep, I am pissed.....
Deeeeeep Breath.........Any and all comments & Opinions and postings by me are considered of my own opinion, and not of any ORG that I belong to! PERIOD!