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Challenges ahead for immigration law

Gonzalo Hernandez protests against Arizona’s immigration law, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the state’s crackdown on immigrants but said a much-debated portion on checking suspects’ status could go forward. AP Images

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling striking down three of four challenged provisions of Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law — and essentially inviting future challenges to the remaining part of the statute — has lawyers prepared for a flurry of litigation in Arizona and other states with similar measures.

“I think the impact is going to be huge,” said immigration attorney David W. Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

In the 5-3 ruling Monday in Arizona v. U.S., the court struck down three provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070 as pre-empted by the federal immigration enforcement scheme:

• The measure making it a state-law misdemeanor to violate federal registration laws by willfully failing to complete or carry an alien registration document;

• The portion making it a crime for undocumented workers to seek or hold employment; and

• The part of the law authorizing the warrantless arrest of persons suspected of committing removable offenses when there is probable cause.

However, the court upheld the portion of the law that directs state police to check the immigration status of individuals reasonably suspected of being in the country illegally, holding that the measure should not have been enjoined before state courts had an opportunity to interpret it.

The ruling has parties on both sides of the case declaring victory.

“A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system — it’s part of the problem,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.

But Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer called the opinion “a victory for the rule of law.”

“After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution,” Brewer said in a statement, adding that the state police could begin enforcing the so-called “show me your papers” provision of the law immediately.

Invitation to challenge status checks

Though the court upheld the law’s status-check provision, that measure is not immune from future judicial scrutiny. The opinion essentially invited as-applied challenges to that policy once it is enforced and state courts have a chance to interpret it.

“This opinion does not foreclose other pre-emption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority.

The immediate enforcement of the provision could mean such challenges might soon start making their way through the courts.

“Essentially what the opinion says is: ‘Hey, we don’t have enough facts in front of us. The state courts have not interpreted it. There is not a specific set of facts we can look at,’” Leopold said.

Supporters of the law said they expect that similar measures in other states will survive any facial challenges, although they do anticipate as-applied challenges.

“The fact that the court was unanimous in upholding [the status-check provision], I think, is a strong indication that sort of thing is perfectly fine,” said Paul J. Orfanedes, head of the litigation department of the Washington-based conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch and author of an amicus brief in the case on behalf of state legislators. However, he added: “I think as-applied challenges are very different and dependent on individual circumstances. Like anything else, that authority can be abused.”

In a statement, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. expressed concerns about profiling, and said federal officials will be keeping a close eye on how the law is administered.

“As the court itself recognized, [the law] is not a license to engage in racial profiling,” Holder said. “We will closely monitor the impact of SB 1070 to ensure compliance with federal immigration law and with applicable civil rights laws, including ensuring that law enforcement agencies and others do not implement the law in a manner that has the purpose or effect of discriminating against the Latino or any other community.”

But Brewer brushed aside profiling concerns.

“The case for SB 1070 has always been about our support for the rule of law,” Brewer said in her statement. “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.”

Measures similar to Arizona’s law have been introduced in 36 states, and signed into law in five: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah. Challenges in those states are expected to move forward swiftly, and lawmakers will have to work to immediately amend existing or proposed laws that include measures like those struck down by the court.

One comment

  1. The Obama Justice Department led by the notorious U.S. Attorney General Eric holder has been harassing the legal residents of Arizona, as some plaything? The Obama’s administration is playing with the lives of innocent citizens, being slaughtered on the highways of America, the criminals who have spilled into this sovereign nation, transporting their drugs across the border. Daily headlines in the rural press tell of murders, home invasion and assaults on women and children by illegal aliens. How many more citizens are going to live in fear of their lives throughout the border region? Which cattleman is going to be murdered on his land, have their home ransacked, fences cut or their property covered with narco-terrorist trails leaving piles of human trash.

    Who will be the next U.S. border Patrol agent to die, through slip shod programs such as ‘fast and furious’ an unraveling mystery as yet to be revealed? Just look at the statistics of crimes on ‘THE DARK SIDE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION’ website? But the mainstream Liberal press either denies this is happening or refuses to print the truth. Of course the Ultra Socialist editors in the mainstream media always corrupt the evidence, stating that Americans commit the same offenses. Obviously Americans do, but does that mean we should tolerate the heinous criminals from other nations and third world countries who shouldn’t be here in the first place. Both political parties in their own wretched way, have brought this epidemic on this land.

    However, they refuse to recognize, that if the border was really secured or they could track the over stays, who use international flights as foreigners posing as tourists. All this mayhem brought about by years of what I think was intentional unconcern and ignorance by decades of previous governments. Seeing the Supreme Court’s ruling didn’t go exactly the Justice Department way, they are acting like a spoiled child by cutting of the 287(g) enforcement law for the Grand Canyon state. In light of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, the Obama Administration has suspended the 287(g) program in Arizona and enforcements. Holder using their ultimate power to intimidate the desert state that is trying to survive the onslaught of illegal aliens. A Justice Department should be there to help protect the people, but instead they are using any manner of issues to undermine the Arizona state sovereignty.

    The 287(g) program is an official partnership between local law enforcement agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to aid in enforcing federal immigration laws at the local level. Federal officials said the program is no longer needed in Arizona now that the Court has upheld the section of the state’s immigration-enforcement law requiring all police to check immigration status. What is next for the Obama regime and his Czar goons, to rescind the ‘Secure Communities’ so local police cannot fingerprint suspicious people who may be illegal aliens.

    A COVERT AMNESTY HAS BEEN PASSED BECAUSE PRESIDENT OBAMA, HAS NOT ONLY DISMISSED LAWS PASSED BY THE CONGRESS, BUT NOW IS STATED THAT IT WILL NOT ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS, SPECIFICALLY ON THE ONGOING INTIMIDATION OF ARIZONA. IN OTHER WORDS THIS PRESIDENT HAS METHODICALLY TORE UP THE EDICTS IN THE CONSTITUTION AND ALLOWING FOREIGN NATIONALS TO STAY BY EXECUTIVE FIAT. THIS MAN DOESN’T SEEM TO CARE THAT THIS COUNTRY IS BEING OVERWHELMED BY THE POVERTY FROM SOUTH OF THE BORDER, BUT ALSO A MAGNET TO MILLIONS OF PREGNANT WOMEN WHO ONCE ARRIVE HERE CAN STEAL THE WELFARE OF AMERICAN FAMILIES. ONCE SMUGGLED THROUGH THE BORDER 400.000 ILLEGAL ALIEN MOTHERS ANNUALLY CAN REAP THE REWARDS OF CRIMINALLY ENTERING THE UNITED STATES. WHAT SHOULD BE GOING TO OUR OWN CITIZENS, BEING BLED FROM STATE TREASURIES TO PAY FOR THE WELFARE THROUGH COURT UNFUNDED MANDATES.

    We are looking at a President that has added trillions of dollars to the 16 trillion deficits. With Hillary Clinton going overseas and giving $2 billion of taxpayers’ money to some obscure organization in these administrations push for green energy. Not satisfied with this, the Democrats are selling Americas rights of the oceans; with ‘The Treaty of the Sea’.

    We should not be looking from either the Obama Government or the Mitt Romney potential administration, but the TEA PARTY. IT is the Time of the PEOPLE’S PARTY. It is the time for the TEA PARTY, which is complimented by man/women; African, White, Hispanic, Asian and other Americans of different nationalities. The TEA PARTY is a wealth of different religions, faiths, gay and ordinary people of every walk of life. Remember a large Majority who votes for President Obama for a second term could be non citizens or American citizens who spend their days watching TV, selling drugs, collecting public assistance and living off the rest of us as parasites. The exception is the sick and true disabled human beings, so think of their dilemma who taxpayers should be assisting, instead of foreigners. If you are frustrated with feeding the rest of the world, unable to get a decent job then join the TEA PARTY. The controversial immigration debate and the problems it has brought; it is a theft of your taxes.

    Obama’s new the rules and regulations have been forced on American with its so called ‘Political Correctness’ along with its growing taint of Socialism philosophies impregnating our young in the schools and universities. President Obama has placed obstacles to halt the extraction of valuable energy resources in our time of urgent need. This administration has squashed efforts to extract oil, natural gas and coal; that we could lower the costs from transportation, but sell residual amounts to friendly foreign countries. The progressive’s zealots in the environmentalist world have stopped the laying of oil pipelines from Canada to Texas, and in Utah the Prairie dog has more dominion over townsfolk people through the absolute fanatical ‘Endangered Species’ law. I wonder how long it will be before the Obama Administration taxes us even more, because we actually have a pulse.

    Two of the most controversial issue, that we must be imposed at once, so no more foreign invaders are encouraged to break the immigration ‘Rule of Law’. ‘THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT’ (E-VERIFY) must be passed and advanced, so illegal aliens can no longer steal jobs from the millions of Americans unemployed. The ‘BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP ACT (H.R.140) must be compulsory so un born babies smuggled into America, so that parents cannot take benefit from welfare, once the child become an immediate citizen. Half a million pregnant women enter the United States looking for handouts annually, for their children.

    This is the time when every American who believes in the ‘Rule of Law’ and steps forward to let their Senator or Congress person knows how you will vote. Tell the politician’s aide (screener) and that you want them to sponsor E-Verify and the Birthright Citizenship bills. Citizen voters should phone Congress at the central Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Insist YOUR CONGRESSMAN/WOMAN TO fulfill their obligation to the oath of office and stop pandering to the businesses that use cheap labor or the pro-illegal alien lawmakers that you are only voting for those who favor the TEA PARTY ideology. Use the power of your VOTE to demand they sponsor these to policies or we are destined to become like Europe, overwhelmed by the poverty of other nations.