by Jim Nintzel
The reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling on SB 1070 is underway.
Gov. Jan Brewer:
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.
While we are grateful for this legal victory, today is an opportunity to reflect on our journey and focus upon the true task ahead: the implementation and enforcement of this law in an even-handed manner that lives up to our highest ideals as American citizens. I know the State of Arizona and its law enforcement officers are up to the task. The case for SB 1070 has always been about our support for the rule of law. That means every law, including those against both illegal immigration and racial profiling. Law enforcement will be held accountable should this statute be misused in a fashion that violates an individual’s civil rights.
The last two years have been spent in preparation for this ruling. Upon signing SB 1070 in 2010, I issued an Executive Order directing the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZ POST) to develop and provide training to ensure our officers are prepared to enforce this law efficiently, effectively and in a manner consistent with the Constitution. In recent days, in anticipation of this decision, I issued a new Executive Order asking that this training be made available once again to all of Arizona’s law enforcement officers. I am confident our officers are prepared to carry out this law responsibly and lawfully. Nothing less is acceptable.
Of course, today’s ruling does not mark the end of our journey. It can be expected that legal challenges to SB 1070 and the State of Arizona will continue. Our critics are already preparing new litigation tactics in response to their loss at the Supreme Court, and undoubtedly will allege inequities in the implementation of the law. As I said two years ago on the day I signed SB 1070 into law, "We cannot give them that chance. We must use this new tool wisely, and fight for our safety with the honor Arizona deserves."
For decades, politicians in Washington have talked about this problem, but nothing ever gets done and Arizonans continue to shoulder the burden of a broken immigration system. SB 1070 is a product of the federal government’s failure to act. Today’s ruling does not help us secure the border, and it does not provide a solution for the 400,000 undocumented people living in Arizona.
As a deputy sheriff of a border county, I’ve witnessed first hand the human cost of not having a workable solution. I’ve seen the results of the violence and drugs, and I know the terrible toll that has taken on our community. But SB 1070 doesn’t help local law enforcement fix the problem. It's a distraction that hinders our ability to build trust with the communities we serve.
Our immigration problems are complex, but the solutions are simple: secure the border, develop a pathway to earn legal status and enact the DREAM Act. Leadership on this issue takes courage, but it also requires politicians to stop using immigration as a wedge issue to score political points.
It wasn't long ago that two diametrically opposed leaders — President George W. Bush and the late Senator Ted Kennedy — came together to try to solve the problem. There was even a time when Senator John McCain and Congressman Jeff Flake favored a comprehensive approach that was practical and fair. It’s going to take a more honest debate and the political will to get it done – and that’s what’s been missing in Washington.
Luis Heredia, executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party:
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled section 2B of SB 1070 to be constitutional. That does not make it just or moral. Other parts were ruled unconstitutional as further evidence why this law is flawed.
The Arizona Democratic Party opposed SB 1070 in 2010. The Arizona Democratic Party opposes SB 1070 now. This law does nothing to protect or strengthen Arizona.
There was a time when Senator John McCain and Congressman Jeff Flake led the United States on immigration reform. Now, Governor Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others in the Arizona Republican Party lead us to nothing. Mitt Romney even mistakenly called SB 1070 a "model" for the nation.
This law is simply a tool of divisive voices for political gain, one that damages our state's credibility and economy. As a result, Arizona families have paid the price with $23 million in lost tax revenue and at least $350 million lost in direct spending by convention-goers. SB 1070 has failed Arizona.
Today’s decision is a call to action. It reminds us of the rash and irresponsible overreach of the Republican Legislature. It also signals that now is the time to elect leaders who will get our state back on track. Arizona families deserve better politicians who respect law enforcement, work to create jobs and enact laws that will protect the individual rights of all citizens.
The Supreme Court has said section 2B of SB 1070 is constitutional. That does not make it right.