by Jim Nintzel
Reaction continues to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down three out of four challenged provisions in SB 1070, Arizona controversial immigration law.
Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva:
Today’s Supreme Court ruling largely struck down a law we have always recognized as an extremist attempt to undermine our core values and our Constitution. The court’s decision reaffirmed that SB 1070 and its many imitators are not an acceptable substitute for a federal immigration standard.
The rationale for states to invent their own laws as they see fit has been wiped away. Now it’s time for Congress to listen to what the Court said in its ruling. It’s our job to fix this. No one else has the authority, and no one else has the responsibility. Anyone who wants to keep the system broken and wait for states to make things uglier one at a time lost a big battle today.
Unfortunately, the Court made a grave error in upholding the discriminatory ‘show me your papers’ provision that violates basic rights and denies equal justice. This is the most poisonous part of the law, and its legality will rightly be challenged on equal protection grounds in the courts. This is not the end of our efforts to uphold equal and legal treatment for the American people.
Despite the state’s 30 percent Latino population, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has made a career of widespread racial profiling and discrimination. If his recent statements are any indication, he is unrepentant. That’s why it was so significant today that the Department of Homeland Security announced it has terminated its 287(g) ‘task force’ agreements with Arizona’s law enforcement agencies. DHS officials have been directed not to respond to law enforcement activity unless the suspect meets federal enforcement priority guidelines, such as already being a convicted criminal or having reentered the country after a lawful removal. These steps mean that Arizonans will be protected from discriminatory or targeted enforcement actions by Arpaio and any other law enforcement agent tempted to ignore federal guidelines.
This is in keeping with frequent requests by Members of Congress and civil rights organizations concerned about the long history of civil rights violations in parts of Arizona. The federal government has made the right decision and deserves our thanks. Now Congress must find a responsible solution to immigration reform that promotes respect for the law, keeps law enforcement focused on criminal behavior, and benefits all Americans. Opponents of bipartisan reform have truly run out of excuses. The rest of us stand ready to finish the job.
Republican Congressman and U.S. Senate Candidate Jeff Flake:
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.
Democratic Congressman Ron Barber:
The federal government has failed to fix our broken immigration system or to secure the border—failures that cost the people of Arizona more than those in other states.
SB1070 was an expression of Arizona’s frustration—but it did nothing to make our border secure, as even Gov. Jan Brewer has admitted. We must give renewed attention to stopping the drug cartels that have inflicted their violence on so many innocent people.
Today’s court decision leaves open the essential question of how we make sure that all Americans enjoy the protections against discriminatory treatment that are guaranteed by our Constitution and it also still fails to offer any remedy for securing our border.
My priorities in Congress are to improve border security and fix our immigration system. One step we can take immediately is to pass the DREAM Act—a bipartisan measure that would help our economy and not unfairly penalize those who have served in our country’s military or received an education without breaking our nation’s laws.
Arizona Senate President Steve Pierce:
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.
Our state has grown frustrated by the lack of security at our border with Mexico and inaction by the federal government. SB 1070 grew out of that frustration. It was a common sense bill that I supported, along with nearly every member of our Caucus.
It only gave local and state law enforcement the power to enforce existing law. Illegal immigration is an issue that directly affects Arizona’s economy, overburdens our corrections system, strains local budgets and leads to increased costs on our citizens for vital services such as health care and education.
Perhaps now we can deal with the issue as a sovereign state, just as we should be able to with the mismanagement of our forests. Natural resources are going up in smoke due to even more of the Feds inability to do what is right.
It is an election year, but I hold out hope that the Obama Administration can finally move past the rhetoric and work toward a solution to this and other very important problems that impact not only Arizona, but the nation as well. While we need the Border Patrol agents to improve security, we also need more U.S. Customs and Border Security agents to get commerce moving immediately.
Today’s decision is a clear sign that the days of inaction and excuses are over.
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.
It is unfortunate the Obama Administration is not interested in enforcing the law and attempted, through Attorney General Holder, to prevent SB 1070 from being implemented. SB 1070 would not have been necessary had the administration been willing to support Arizona with appropriate enforcement strategies.
We are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Sections 3, 5 and 6(C) of SB 1070 are unconstitutional attempts by the State of Arizona to infringe upon Federal Immigration powers. This is a partial victory for the citizens of Arizona. The ruling confirms that the Arizona Legislature went too far.
Unfortunately the Court ruled that section 2(B) of SB 1070 (the “papers please” part of the law) might be constitutional and that it was premature “to enjoin [it] before state courts had an opportunity to construe it and without some showing that its enforcement in fact conflicts with federal immigration law?”
Arizonans, and particularly those of Hispanic descent, will now be subject to potential harassment and detention while this law works its way through the courts once again.
The Pima County Democratic Party opposed SB 1070 in 2010. The Pima County Democratic Party opposes SB 1070 now. This law does nothing to protect or strengthen Arizona.
There was a time when President George Bush, Senator John McCain, Congressman Jeff Flake, together with the late Senator Ted Kennedy 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 calls 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 further call to action. It reminds us of the rash and irresponsible overreach of Arizona’s Republican Legislature. It also signals that now is the time to elect real leaders who will get Arizona back on track. Our families deserve better leaders who respect law enforcement, work to create jobs and enact laws that will protect the individual rights of all citizens.
Leadership on this issue takes courage, but it also requires politicians to stop using immigration as a wedge issue to score political points.
Congressional District 1 Democratic candidate Wenona Benally Baldenegro:
In striking down key provisions of SB1070, the U.S. Supreme Court sent a clear message to Arizona that immigration remains within the exclusive power of the federal government to regulate. While three
out of four provisions of the law are no longer enforceable, the Justices endorsed the "show me your papers" provision—the crux of the law that leaves open the door to potential racial profiling and pretextual stops. Allowing a confusing patchwork of state laws to remain on the books is not the solution to immigration reform. We must monitor Arizona's exercise of this provision while, at the same
time, pursuing challenges to eliminate it. More than ever, we need to continue working to pass a federal immigration reform law that respects the human rights and dignity of all and reflects our country's proud history as a nation of immigrants.
Congressional District 1 Republican candidate Jonathan Paton:
After more than two years of legal attacks by the Obama administration on Arizona, the heart of SB1070 has been upheld.
Arizona law enforcement can now do their jobs when coming in contact with an individual who they suspect may be in the country illegally.
I voted for SB1070 because Arizona had to take action in light of the federal government's failure to enforce immigration laws. No state deals with the impact of illegal immigration more than Arizona. It is more than past time to deal with this issue.
When elected to Congress, I will take my experience crafting state laws to address illegal immigration and force the federal government to take responsibility and secure our border.