It didn’t take long after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 for both Republicans and Democrats to claim victory Monday.
While President Barack Obama was claiming victory at the White House, so was Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer at the state capital.
Brewer held a short press conference, and released the following statement, “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.”
Brewer, along with most Republicans, were happy that the Supreme Court upheld the most controversial part of the bill, which would require law enforcement to check the legal status of individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.
While Brewer was happy for the crucial piece of the bill being upheld, the nation’s highest court struck down parts of the bill including language that would have criminalized the act of an immigrant moving around the state without paperwork proving that they are lawfully present, and provisions that rendered the act of seeking or holding a job if unauthorized to live in the United States a state crime. The court also overturned a section of SB 1070 that would have allowed police to make warrantless arrests.
Arizona senators Jon Kyl and John McCain said they wanted more time to fully understand the ruling; they immediately issued a statement regarding the judgment.
“Today’s ruling appears to validate a key component of Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070,” the two said in a combined statement. “The Arizona law was born out of the state’s frustration with the burdens that illegal immigration and continued drug smuggling impose on its schools, hospitals, criminal justice system and fragile desert environment, and an administration that chooses to set enforcement policies based on political agenda, not the laws as written by Congress. We will continue our efforts on behalf of the citizens of Arizona to secure our southern border. We believe Arizonans are better served when state and federal officials work as partners to protect our citizens.”
Ron Barber, who was recently elected in Congressional District 8, said SB 1070 was an expression of Arizona’s frustration, but did nothing to make the border any more secure.
“We must give renewed attention to stopping the drug cartels that have inflicted their violence on so many innocent people,” he said. “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.”
The court agreed that immigration policy must stay at the federal level, which the Obama Administration was quick to point out.
“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law,” Obama said. “What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – its part of the problem.”
State Rep. Vic Williams, R-District 30, was one of the state lawmakers to help pass SB 1070 two years ago, and said he’s pleased that the Supreme Court upheld a big portion of it.
“The important thing is the main premise of this bill has been upheld,” he said. “This is a victory for the State of Arizona and the nation, showing that the federal government has failed to get a handle on illegal immigration.”
Williams said this is just one piece of a larger issue, where a worker program must be created, and illegal immigrants must be stopped from having access to services and aid.
“I would say that SB 1070 is a good start,” he said. “But, we obviously need more.”
Now, law enforcement around Arizona is gearing up for what the Supreme Court ruling means. Some say the decision will promote racial profiling, while Brewer has promised that won’t happen.
Other states that have enacted similar laws to Arizona’s are also looking at how today’s decision will impact them.