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BREAKING: Decision Reached on Arizona's SB 1070

The Supreme Court has reached a decision in Arizona v. US.

Three of four provisions have been struck down, however, Section 2(B) of SB 1070, the part of the bill that allows local police officers to ask for immigration status after a crime, has been upheld. The Supreme Court has sent the remaining three provisions back to the Ninth Circuit. The Court ruled it was inappropriate for lower courts to strike down Section 2(B).


According to the Court opinion:

STRUCK- Section 3:

Makes failure to comply with federal alien-registration requirements a state misdemeanor.

Section 3 of S. B. 1070 creates a new state misde- meanor. It forbids the “willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document . . . in violation of 8 United States Code section 1304(e) or 1306(a).” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §11–1509(A) (West Supp. 2011). In effect, §3 adds a state-law penalty for conduct proscribed by federal law. The United States contends that this state enforcement mechanism intrudes on the field of alien registration, a field in which Congress has left no room for States to regulate.

STRUCK- Section 5(C):

Makes it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek or engage in work in the State.

Unlike §3, which replicates federal statutory require­ ments, §5(C) enacts a state criminal prohibition where no federal counterpart exists. The provision makes it a state misdemeanor for “an unauthorized alien to knowingly ap- ply for work, solicit work in a public place or perform work as an employee or independent contractor” in Ari­zona. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13–2928(C) (West Supp. 2011). Violations can be punished by a $2,500 fine and incarcera­ tion for up to six months. See §13–2928(F); see also §§13–707(A)(1) (West 2010); 13–802(A); 13–902(A)(5). The United States contends that the provision upsets the bal- ance struck by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) and must be preempted as an obstacle to the federal plan of regulation and control.


STRUCK - Section 6:

Authorizes state and local officers to arrest without a warrant a person "the officer has probable cause to believe has committed any public offense that makes the person removable form the United States."

Section 6 of S. B. 1070 provides that a state officer, “without a warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe . . . [the person] has committed any public offense that makes [him] removable from the United States.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13–3883(A)(5) (West Supp. 2011). The United States argues that arrests authorized by this statute would be an obstacle to the removal system Congress created.

UPHELD 8-0 - Section 2(B):

Requires officers conducting a stop, detention, or arrest to make efforts, in some circumstances, to verify the person's immigration status with the Federal Government.

Section 2(B) of S. B. 1070 requires state officers to make a “reasonable attempt . . . to determine the immigration status” of any person they stop, detain, or arrest on some other legitimate basis if “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §11–1051(B) (West 2012). The law also provides that “[a]ny person who is arrested shall have the person’s immigration status de­ termined before the person is released.” Ibid. The accepted way to perform these status checks is to contact ICE, which maintains a database of immigration records.


Essentially what this means is: illegals can still look for and work in Arizona without penalty, Arizona cannot punish illegals with state penalties for breaking federal immigration laws and police cannot use "reasonable suspicion" to justify asking about legal status but can ask about legal status after a crime has been committed (speeding, burglary, rape, etc.)

Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito have filed opinions in this case. According to SCOTUSBlog, "the court say that it is not clear whether application of this provision will interfere with immigration law," and "the SB 1070 decision is a significant win for the Obama administration. It got almost everything it wanted." Justice Kagan recused herself from the decision because of her involvement in the case as the Solicitor General of the United States, the ruling was 5-3.

From Scalia's opinion in which he discussed President Obama's move last week to grant amnesty to young illegals brought to the United States by their parents:

"Today’s opinion, ap­ proving virtually all of the Ninth Circuit’s injunction against enforcement of the four challenged provisions of Arizona’s law, deprives States of what most would con- sider the defining characteristic of sovereignty: the power to exclude from the sovereign’s territory people who have no right to be there. Neither the Constitution itself nor even any law passed by Congress supports this result. I dissent."

"As a sovereign, Arizona has the inherent power to ex­ clude persons from its territory, subject only to those limitations expressed in the Constitution or constitution­ ally imposed by Congress. That power to exclude has long been recognized as inherent in sovereignty."

"What this case comes down to, then, is whether the Arizona law conflicts with federal immigration law— whether it excludes those whom federal law would admit, or admits those whom federal law would exclude. It does not purport to do so. It applies only to aliens who neither possess a privilege to be present under federal law nor have been removed pursuant to the Federal Government’s inherent authority."

"The most important point is that, as we have discussed, Arizona is entitled to have “its own immigration policy”—including a more rigorous enforcement policy—so long as that does not conflict with federal law. "

"It has become clear that federal enforcement priorities—in the sense of priorities based on the need to allocate “scarce enforcement resources”—is not the problem here. After this case was argued and while it was under consideration, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immi- gration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants under the age of 30.4."


Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has issued a statement saying the ruling is a victory for the state:

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Upholds Heart of SB 1070.

“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.’”


Be sure to watch for a domino effect from this opinion on states such as Alabama, Utah, Georgia, Mississippi and others who followed Arizona's lead to take on the illegal immigration issue at the state level.

As of this morning, a new Rasmussen Report shows that 55 percent of likely voters wanted the Supreme Court to uphold the law and want something similar in their own states.

Most voters still want an immigration law like Arizona’s in their own state and hope the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the legality of the Arizona law this week.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% of Likely U.S. Voters would like to see the Supreme Court uphold the law that Arizona adopted to reduce illegal immigration in the state. Just 26% would like to see the high court overturn the law. Nineteen percent (19%) are undecided.

Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters favor passage of an immigration law like Arizona’s in their own state. Thirty-one percent (31%) are opposed to such a measure in the state where they live. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided.

Arizona Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever has also issued a statement:

“During the Supreme Court’s April hearing of SB 1070, Section 2B was widely discussed and they upheld that provision today.  While this is not a total win, it is a partial victory for Sheriffs, who are constitutional officers, and confirms we have the authority to inquire of the legal status of people we think are here illegally.
“Unfortunately, Section 2B does not go far enough to eliminate sanctuary cities and they will continue to be a draw for illegal immigrants.”





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