Ari­zona takes im­mi­gra­tion-law fight to Supreme Court

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DI­NAN

Ari­zona Gov. Jan Brewer has asked the Supreme Court to over­turn lower courts and re­in­state her state’s tough im­mi­gra­tion law, say­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to ne­glect the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der and states have to fill the gap.

Mrs. Brewer de­cided to go straight to the Supreme Court, rather than ask the full 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals to hear the case, ar­gu­ing that the mat­ter was go­ing to end up in the high court even­tu­ally any­way and that time is of the essence.

“I’ve al­ways known this legal fight would be a long one,” she said. “But now that this is the path we’ve cho­sen, I am con­fi­dent Ari­zona will pre­vail.”

At is­sue is the law, known by its bill num­ber SB 1070, which granted po­lice the power to check the im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus of any­one they en­coun­tered in their reg­u­lar du­ties whom they sus­pected of be­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally. It also re­quired im­mi­grants to carry their legal res­i­dency or travel doc­u­ments with them.

Mrs. Brewer signed the law last April, amid huge push back from civil rights groups, who said it would lead to racial pro­fil­ing.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion sued, ar­gu­ing the law in­fringed on the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s right to set im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, and both a lower fed­eral court and a three-judge panel of the 9th Cir­cuit agreed with the ad­min­is­tra­tion. They blocked the law’s strictest pro­vi­sions.

Ari­zona of­fi­cials say drug vi- olence is in­creas­ing in Mex­ico and that it is spilling over into the U.S. They said their law is a way of giv­ing po­lice more tools to try to en­cour­age il­le­gal aliens to leave the state, and to clamp down on the con­di­tions that spawn drug-war clashes.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment, though, says it has taken ma­jor steps to se­cure the bor­der and ar­gues many ar­eas are now more se­cure than ever.

Ari­zona was the first state to test the lim­its of fed­eral lee­way on im­mi­gra­tion, but it has been fol­lowed by oth­ers. Ge­or­gia has adopted an Ari­zona-style bill, while Utah has com­bined both a tougher en­force­ment mea­sure with a state-run guest­worker pro­gram, which would take ef­fect in 2013.

Two weeks ago, U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric H. Holder Jr. said he is ready to sue to block Utah’s law, but first wants to work with the state to see if its conflicts with fed­eral law can be worked out over the next two years.


Flanked by Ari­zona state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Tom Horne (right) and state Sen. Rus­sell Pearce, Ari­zona Gov. Jan Brewer an­nounces May 9 that the state will ap­peal an ad­verse rul­ing on its tough im­mi­gra­tion law di­rectly to the U.S. Supreme Court, seek­ing to by­pass an ap­peals court.

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