Supreme Court rejects part of SB 1070

Protesters and supporters of SB 1070 rally in Phoenix after the Supreme Court announcement Monday

Supreme Court rejects part of SB 1070

CREATED Jun 25, 2012

Web Producers: Stephani Ruiz, Corinne Hautala, Laura Kittell

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KGUN9-TV/AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down most of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB-1070.

The court, however, did not throw out the portion requiring police to check the immigration status of someone they believe is in the U.S. illegally.  Still, the justices said the provision could face additional legal challenges.
While the decision upholds a portion of the law, it does restrict police officers from arresting people on minor immigration charges.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion for the court was unanimous on allowing the “show me the papers” requirement to move forward.

The court was divided on striking down the other portions.
The court struck down the provisions requiring all immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers, making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job and allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.
The Obama administration sued to block the Arizona law two years ago.

Governor Jan Brewer issued the following statement following the Supreme Court decision this morning, "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."

Governor Brewer's full statement is attached to this story.

“I disagree that this is a victory for local law enforcement," Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said. "I think that this is a setback for local law enforcement. This is not what we are geared to do.”

"I've got full confidence in TPD, but this is a significant shift of immigration--federal immigration responsibility to local law enforcement," Tucson Councilman Steve Kozachik said.

Villaseñor added his officers would have to spent more time checking immigration status and less time keeping people in immediate danger safe.

"If it was a Friday night, 10 or 11 o'clock at night, and things are really hopping out there and they feel they has someone here illegally, they can make the decision, saying, 'That's not the highest pressing thing I need to deal with right now,'" Villaseñor said. "'It's the robbery call, it's the rape call, it's the aggravated assault call that I need to get to to provide for the safety of this community.' SB 1070 takes away that discretion."

"I want it to be very clear to the people of Tucson and the people visiting our city, we will not violate people's civil rights in enforcing this law," Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said.

U.S. Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl released the following joint statement, “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.”

Their full statement is attached to this story.

Speaker of the Arizona House Andy Tobin stated, “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.”

Senate President Steve Pierce had this to say, “This morning the United States Supreme Court announced that justices have ruled unanimously in favor of the central part of Arizona’s SB 1070. This ruling upheld what Arizonans have known all along;Arizona is not precluded from taking action herself to help secure our southern border."

Secretary Napolitano issued the following statement, “I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that state laws cannot dictate the federal government’s immigration enforcement policies or priorities. DHS remains focused on enhancing public safety and the integrity of our border by prioritizing enforcement resources on those who are in the country unlawfully and committing crimes, those who have repeatedly violated our immigration laws, and those who recently crossed our borders illegally. The Court’s decision not to strike down Section Two at this time will make DHS’ work more challenging. Accordingly, DHS will implement operational enhancements to its programs in Arizona to ensure that the agency can remain focused on its priorities."

Secretary Napolitano's full statement is attached to this story.

Tucson City Councilor Regina Romero continues opposition and calls for the repeal of Arizona’s SB1070. “The Supreme Court has upheld the ‘papers, please’ provision of SB1070, allowing police officers to act as de facto immigration enforcement agents,” said Councilor Regina Romero. “This law institutionalizes racism and legitimizes racial profiling. There are no two ways about it.”

Councilor Romero's full statement is attached to this story.

Jeff Flake, a candidate for U.S. Senate, issued the following statement regarding today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070:  “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.”

Regina Jefferies, chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Arizona Chapter, on behalf of the executive committee, released the following statement today regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down most provisions of SB 1070:  “We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the vast majority of SB 1070 as preempted by federal law.  The decision reinforces the long-standing principle that immigration law and policy is an area strictly reserved for the federal government.  However, the Court’s decision to allow Section 2(b) of SB1070, the provision requiring police officers to ask for the immigration status of individuals they stop, will leave the fate of families who came to this country to create a better life for themselves and their children hanging in the balance."

NALEO, the leadership organization of the nation’s Latino elected and appointed officials, today released the following statement,  “NALEO applauds the Court’s action to prevent the state from unconstitutionally criminalizing being undocumented, seeking or engaging in work, or being deportable. NALEO is extremely concerned, however, that Arizona’s “show-me-your-papers” policy was not yet determined to be unconstitutional because it is unclear how it will be implemented."

Several House Democrats issued the following statements after the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it struck down three of the four key provisions of SB 1070 that were being challenged.
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14) “The Supreme Court ruling on SB1070 is not surprising. What we need is comprehensive immigration reform and border security so we can solve this issue for the long-term, not more divisive legislation and bickering. In light of today’s ruling, I ask all leaders at every level of government to put aside their political agendas and partisanship to work together on comprehensive, fair and effective immigration reform and border security.”
Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley, D-Tucson (District 28) "Arizonans expect and deserve reasonable immigration reform. SB 1070 is a far cry from reasonable. It lets politicians get away with political grandstanding instead of enacting real reform. We need substantive reform and we need to ensure our police officers have the tools they need to crack down on true criminals and keep our communities safe and secure. I commend the Supreme Court for striking down key parts of this law and forcing politicians to focus on real reform.”
House Minority Whip Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson (District 13) “The ripple effect of this decision will be far reaching. It sends a message to lawmakers that we need sensible immigration reform. SB 1070 was divisive and ineffective. It promoted an extremist agenda and did nothing to help the economy.”