Most, not all of Arizona’s immigration law struck down
TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court struck down most of Arizona’s immigration law Monday but upheld language that would require state officers to determine the immigration status of individuals suspected of being in the country illegally, one of the law’s most controversial provisions.
The court ruled that a number of other provisions preempted federal law, including sections that allowed state officers to arrest individuals without a warrant if they have probable cause that the suspect committed an offense that would justify deportation and a requirement to immediately transfer convicted aliens to the custody of federal immigration enforcement.
The Court looked at four sections of S.B. 1070.
Section 3 (it is a misdemeanor to not carry immigration papers) – preempted. Federal law so extensive in this area, it has a “field of preemption” – this AZ section enters that field, therefore is overturned.
Section 5-c (misdemeanor to seek or engage in work if not authorized) – preempted. Same as above.
Section 6 (gives the authority to arrest someone on suspicion of being illegal) – preempted as it CONFLICTS with Federal law. The Feds don’t even arrest. They demand that a person show up at an immigration hearing. It is NOT a criminal offense to be in the U.S. Illegally. Therefore, AZ making it criminal conflicted with federal law.
Section 2-b (officials may stop and ask for proof of citizenship) – the court said this is not preempted and that the law, as written, does not conflict with federal law. However, the court specifically stated that it could revisit the issue later, on different grounds or based on how the law is enforced, once it goes into effect.
Justice Scalia delivered a rather political statement in dissent. Starting with an argument for states’ rights, Scalia noted that states enforced their own immigration laws for the first 100 years. Then, Federal law was enacted, even though, Scalia argues, the power to do so is not in the Constitution.
He added that states are sovereign and that part of state sovereignty is the ability to exclude others.
In a portion of Scalia’s statement, the Justice argued that had the states known when voting on whether to enter the Union that immigration laws would be enforced only by the federal government and only based on the will of the President, the states may have declined to become part of the U.S.
The final parts of Scalia’s comments centered around Arizona’s complaint that the federal government is not enforcing immigration laws. He took the opportunity to scold President Obama for his new immigration policy announced last week. Scalia offered Obama’s policy as proof that the federal government is not protecting Arizona’s borders, therefore, Arizona should be allowed to do so for itself.
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