Arizona federal Judge Susan Bolton says there will be no sanctuary cities in the state, but sided with the Obama administration on key provisions that resulted in a bevy of lawsuits and boycotts.
Both sides do agree that the immigration lawsuit ruling leaves room for a robust interpretation of many issues. For example, buried in a footnote, police have the authority to inquire about immigration status, but the State can not require law enforcement to do so. This provision may have inadvertently created Arizona’s very own ‘don’t ask and don’t tell’ policy.
Another significant portion of the 36-page ruling directly contradicts a federal law and gives illegal immigrants more leeway in Arizona.
Current federal law at Title 8 USC Sec. 1304(e) already requires legal resident aliens to carry their registration card at all times and are subject to conviction for a misdemeanor, imprisonment, and a $100 fine per offense.
(e) Personal possession of registration or receipt card; penalties every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.
While the initial verdict of SB 1070 brought cheers from the left and the right deflated, further reading found not all was lost.
A key provision that was stuck down dealt with possible misidentification of legal residents.
“There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new [law],” Bolton, a Clinton appointee, wrote in her injunction. “By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a ‘distinct, unusual and extraordinary’ burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose.”
The Department of Homeland Security Secretary and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano’s office was quick to issue a statement regarding the SB 1070 ruling.
“The court’s decision to enjoin most of SB1070 correctly affirms the federal government’s responsibilities in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws,” said Matt Chandler DHS deputy press secretary. “Over the past eighteen months, this Administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border, and we will continue to work to take decisive action to disrupt criminal organizations and the networks they exploit. DHS will enforce federal immigration laws in Arizona and around the country in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor, as well as continue to secure our border.”
A quick response to the Arizona lawsuit ruling from Department of Justice spokeswoman Hannah August also lauded the judge’s decision. “We believe the court ruled correctly when it prevented key provisions of SB 1070 from taking effect. While we understand the frustration of Arizonans with the broken immigration system, a patchwork of state and local policies would seriously disrupt federal immigration enforcement and would ultimately be counterproductive. States can and do play a role in cooperating with the federal government in its enforcement of the immigration laws, but they must do so within our constitutional framework.”
It is worth pointing out that the Obama administration has continued to deport record numbers of illegal immigrants, but they have also failed to secure the country’s borders. Advocates for serious immigration reform agree immigration reform starts with securing the borders first.
“This administration takes its responsibility to secure our borders seriously and has dedicated unprecedented resources to that effort. We will continue to work toward smarter and more effective enforcement of our laws while pressing for a comprehensive approach that provides true security and strengthens accountability and responsibility in our immigration system at the national level.”
Overall SB 1070 takes effect Thursday at midnight, but without many provisions that gave the law real teeth.
Senator of Arizona and former Republican presidential candidate, John McCain said he was deeply disappointed by the decision and disagreed with the judge’s view that additional enforcement of law would pose a burden on federal government therefore hindering the government’s ability to carry out their responsibilities… “It’s disappointing for the citizens of my state.”
“The bottom line is that we need to secure the border,” he told Fox News.
In a joint statement Arizona Sheriff’s Paul Babeu of Pinal County and Larry Dever of Cochise County (Sheriff in the county where rancher Robert Krentz was murdered) said; “Incredibly, even though there is not one person who can legitimately claim to be harmed by a law that has not even taken effect, the result of an injunction is de facto amnesty through non-enforcement of laws against illegal immigration.”
The Sheriffs added that “The federal government refuses to secure the border and leaves it to states like Arizona to bear the costs of its inaction. Yet, when we try to do the job they won’t do, in a manner consistent with federal law, they stop us. You couldn’t make up something this ridiculous.”
America’s toughest sheriff, Joe Arpaio said the decision in the courtroom would not impact his tolerance of lawbreakers. “Activists and their celebrity sympathizers who wish to target this community and this sheriff by attempting to disrupt our jail and patrol operations will be unsuccessful, as we will be fully prepared to meet those challenges head-on with appropriately staffed personnel and resources.”
When the law took aim at the sanctuary city policy, Judge Bolton left nothing to chance – Arizona will not tolerate rogue cities trying to skirt federal immigration laws.
The judge used the Hines case for guidance. It defined that a state statute is preempted where it “stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.”
The Supreme Court determined in Hines that the purpose of the Federal Alien Registration Act was to “make a harmonious whole” and that the Alien Registration Act “provided a standard for alien registration in a single integrated and all-embracing system. As a result, the Hines case held that the state registration scheme at issue could not be enforced.
Legal gurus believe that if the open borders people are relying on federal preemption from state laws regarding immigration, why does the U.S. Attorney General not take action against sanctuary cities that clearly “… stand as an obstacle to the accomplishment of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.”
Since DOJ’s top lawyer Eric Holder relies on the immigration scheme of Congress in opposition to Arizona’s actions and these actions of states and cities that proactively offer sanctuary (in violation of federal law – i.e., harboring, aiding, abetting …) even more egregious than anything the Grand Canyon State has proposed, it seems the judge wants it both ways.
Many say if you review all of the provisions of SB 1070 that the court left intact, there are many things for illegals to be concerned.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will fight the ruling
As expected Arizona Governor Jan Brewer spoke out about the ruling. She said; “We knew regardless one side or the other would appeal … absolutely the federal government got relief from the courts,” adding that the federal government needs to step up and do its job.
The governor office released an official statement after the ruling saying Brewer was disappointed, but “heartened by some findings – including the ban on sanctuary cities.”
The spunky governor said the fight was not over and alluded to opponents that this was only the beginning of what will likely end up at the Supreme Court.
“I have consulted with my legal counsel about our next steps. We will take a close look at every single element Judge Bolton removed from the law, and we will soon file an expedited appeal at the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.”
Brewer further claimed “We have already made some progress in waking up Washington. But the question still remains: will Washington do its job, and put an end to the daily operations of smugglers in our nation, or will the delays and sidesteps.”
California is another border state that sees the extremes of illegal immigration.
“The federal government has a right and a responsibility to enforce existing laws, but when they fail to meet that responsibility, we should not stand in the way of the states that take action to respond to the very real threat of border violence, drug cartels and human smuggling,” said Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA.).
The majority of American citizens know something has to be done with illegal immigration, but they also declare the borders must be secure, something the Obama administration sidesteps everyday.