Arizona’s AG: Court’s ruling is ‘a 70% win’

Key provision of state immigration law OK’d

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Arizona Republicans declared victory Monday after the Supreme Court upheld the key provision of the state’s immigration law requiring police to check the status of suspected illegal immigrants during a lawful stop.

The court struck down three provisions of the law known as Senate Bill 1070, but left intact the so-called “show-your-papers” section, leading Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to announce that “the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.”

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law,” Mrs. Brewer, who signed the bill into law, said in a statement. “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.”

She stressed that the law would be implemented “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,” said Mrs. Brewer.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne also cheered the ruling, characterizing the three sections of the law ruled unconstitutional as far less consequential than the status-check provision, known as Section 2B.

The other three provisions made it a crime for illegal immigrants to seek jobs, required them to carry their immigration documents, and allowed police to arrest anyone suspected of committing a deportable offense.

“I consider it a 70 percent win,” Mr. Horne said. “We lost the other three provisions, but those were minor next to Section 2B. The oral argument over 2B consumed almost all the oral argument, and we won that one.”

Meanwhile, immigrant-rights groups blasted the decision, saying it would encourage racial profiling. Puente Arizona, an immigrants-rights group, launched a campaign it called “Stop 1070, We Will Not Comply” and called for a protest Monday outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in Phoenix.

“It’s looking like Arizona just legalized racial profiling,” Puente Arizona organizer Carlos Garcia told KTVK-TV. “We will continue to fight. It’s an unjust law.”

Arizona Democrats, who have opposed S.B. 1070, said that the half-loaf decision demonstrates that the law is riddled with flaws.

“This law does nothing to protect or strengthen Arizona,” said Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director Luis Heredia in a statement. “This law is simply a tool of divisive voices for political gain, one that damages our state’s credibility and economy.”

He said the law has cost Arizona $23 million in tax revenue and at least $350 million in spending by convention-goers. The law’s passage in 2010 touched off a boycott of the state’s tourism, convention and manufacturing businesses, although some cities suspended their boycotts pending a resolution of the legal challenges.

“The Supreme Court has said Section 2B of SB 1070 is constitutional,” Mr. Heredia said. “That does not make it right.”

The decision was bittersweet for the bill’s sponsor, former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, who was ousted in November in a recall effort organized by opponents of S.B. 1070. Mr. Pearce is now seeking the Republican nomination for the newly drawn state Senate seat in Mesa.

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