- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
High court to consider Ariz. migrant law
Kagan recuses herself
The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear a case on Arizona’s tough immigration-crackdown law, adding yet another contentious clash between the Obama administration and the states to the docket that already includes a challenge to the president’s new health care law.
At stake is whether Arizona and the half-dozen other states that followed its lead can have their own state and local police check the immigration status of those they suspect to be illegal immigrants, and whether states can require legal immigrants to carry their papers with them at all times.
Arguing that the federal government has failed to tackle illegal immigration, Arizona enacted its law in 2010 to try to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to live and work in the state. Backers said they hoped the measure would push illegal immigrants out of Arizona, which they said would save the state hundreds of millions of dollars in education and prison costs and benefit payments.
“This case is not just about Arizona. It’s about every state grappling with the costs of illegal immigration,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican whose signature on the legislation turned her into a national leader on immigration issues. “Beyond the obvious safety issues, the fiscal burdens imposed upon Arizona by illegal immigration are daunting.”
The Obama administration challenged the law and won an order blocking key provisions in district and appeals courts. Arizona asked the Supreme Court to hear its appeal of those decisions.
The case marks the second major battle between the Obama administration and the states to reach the court this year. Last month, the court announced that the justices would hear the states’ challenge to the health care law.
She has come under fire from conservatives for not recusing herself from the health care case, since she was solicitor general for Mr. Obama from March 2009 through May 2010. She stopped taking part in cases in March 2010, when she learned that she was under consideration for the high court, in order to preserve her ability to take part in rulings as a justice.
The health care legislation was signed in March 2010, but emails show her colleagues began talking about a legal strategy as early as January, leaving one top Republican congressman to question the “two-month gap” in the record.
Arizona’s immigration law was enacted in April 2010, which suggests the Justice Department must have started laying out its legal strategy even before Mrs. Brewer signed the legislation.
At the White House, press secretary Jay Carney said the administration looks forward to laying out its case before the court.
Arizona’s law local enforcement provisions were matched by laws in Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, Utah and Alabama. The Justice Department has sued to block enforcement in many of those states, while immigrant rights groups have sued to halt the others.
The Obama administration and its supporters say that only the federal government can set immigration policy and argue that any state whose enforcement conflicts with federal priorities must yield.
“While it is incredibly frustrating that many in Congress refuse to act on a solution to help fix our broken immigration system, immigration enforcement is unquestionably the responsibility of the federal government,” said Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza.
But lawyers who drafted the state legislation said the laws themselves complement, rather than clash with, federal law. They also said it is federal law as written by Congress, not the current administration’s priorities, that the courts should examine to determine whether states are interfering.
Arizona’s law had far-reaching consequences, including a boycott of the state’s businesses, led by the National Council of La Raza and other groups. The National Council of La Raza announced in September that it was calling off the boycott, though some other groups have said their calls remain in place.
Alabama’s law went further than Arizona’s by requiring public schools to check the legal status of students enrolled there — though it wouldn’t deny them the right to attend school, even if they were in the country illegally.
An appeals court has blocked that provision, and the state’s attorney general, Luther Strange, has suggested that lawmakers repeal that part of the law, along with another part that requires all legal immigrants and visitors to carry their papers with them. Federal law also requires legal immigrants to carry their proof of legal status.
Mrs. Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, said a court ruling striking down state laws could force Congress to take up a broad overhaul of immigration laws. Congress has tried major overhauls twice in the past five years, but each time it fell short as proponents couldn’t agree among themselves on what to include.
Arizona, which has been ground zero for illegal immigration over the past 15 years, has been a trailblazer in state action to try to combat it.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court upheld another of those attempts that required businesses in the state to use E-Verify, the federal government’s voluntary system for checking employees’ Social Security numbers, to determine whether their new hires are legal workers.
In that case, the justices said a 1986 law specifically gave states the ability to write their own business-licensing schemes when it comes to immigration.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Border Patrol policy still permits agents to shoot at rock-throwers
- IRS to turn over Lerner emails in tea party targeting probe
- House defeats Democrats' attempt to rebuke Issa
- Obama declares himself 'champion in chief' for immigration
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Vietnam says it may have found door of missing Malaysian jet as intel look into stolen passports
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Obama engages in Ukraine diplomacy from Fla. resort as Russia digs in
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
- EDITORIAL: Senate rejects Adegbile for Justice post
- Italy outraged over U.S. gun dealer's 'David' ad
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again