The real downside of the Supreme Court and Arizona’s anti-immigration law

Are we sure why many of us disagree with Arizona’s case on illegal immigration in the Supreme Court?  After 40 years that brought 12 million Mexican immigrants into the U.S., more than half illegally, many have decided to shut their own door to the border and stay in Mexico.  A report by the Pew Hispanic Center says more illegals returned South of the Border in 2010 and 2011 than entered the U.S.  But Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer and Russell Pearce want them all out.



Russell Pearce with Jan Brewer



Russell Pearce is the author of Arizona’s anti-immigration law, SB-1070 and the former state Senator who was removed from office because of his radical views on immigration.  Yet he, along with Brewer, was in Washington last week pushing the Supremes.  It might have done some good, along with the fact that many of the Justices, including the liberal ones, don’t completely agree with the feds’ case.  It’s the old “States Rights” issue raising its head again.
The case is not a test of the legality of racial profiling in Arizona but rather a challenge to the federal government which says SB-1070 is unconstitutional because it preempts federal law.  In a Salon article there is a list of the four provisions for preemptive concern as outlined by Lyle Denniston of the SCOTUS blog.  They are:
  1. individual’s legal right to be in the U.S., if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” of illegality.  If arrested, the individual cannot be released until his legal status is verified by the federal government.  That is the law’s Section 2(B).
  1. A provision making it a crime under state law for an individual to intentionally fail to obtain and carry legal immigrant papers with him while in Arizona (Section 3). 
  1. A provision making it a misdemeanor for an undocumented immigrant to apply for a job, publicly solicit a job, or actually work in AZ (Section 5[C]). 
  1. And, a provision that allows police to arrest without a warrant any person for whom the officer has “probable cause to believe” that the individual has committed any crime, anywhere, that would make that individual subject to being deported (Section 6). 



Hispanic Supreme Court Justice
Sonia Sotomayor



An editorial in the Phoenix Arizona Republic said, “This case is not about civil rights. It’s about state vs. federal power. Chief Justice John Roberts made that clear as arguments began. Civil-rights questions are the subject of other lawsuits. ‘So this is not a case about ethnic profiling,’ Roberts said.”  That was followed by the following from the paper:
“Yet those are the deeply troubling aspects of SB 1070. The law put a shadow of suspicion over all Latinos, created painful divisions in our state and gave Arizona an ugly reputation.”
The implication is that many of us progressives disagree with the law, as well as those copy-cats in other states, due to their violation of civil rights.  It is a known fact that law enforcement in Arizona was stopping individuals simply based on the color of their skin, for minor violations, arresting many, some legal residents.  The feds have initiated a program of rounding up illegals but they are only interested in the ones with criminal records, turning minor offenders loose.
Fareed Zacaria of CNN wonders if Mexicans are “giving up on U.S?  He cites the delicate economy here and how NAFTA has made Mexico more competitive.  Some of their exports are even cheaper than China’s.  Zacaria thinks we are losing our “allure.”  He refers to our demographic advantage that is shrinking due to an older median age, which produces less needed young workers.  That had been satisfied to some degree by legal and illegal immigrants entering the U.S.
Illegals are scared to death in states with stringent immigration laws, afraid to leave home without the proper papers.  The issue has also caused a drop in citizens from Latino communities reporting crime, a reaction which has become a major problem for law enforcement.  But, again, this case is not about civil rights.  But it is for those who believe in human rights, so the question is what to do.  The Democrats plan to force a vote in Congress to invalidate Arizona’s SB-1070.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York has announced his intention of bringing up his “fallback legislation” in the Senate if SCOTUS upholds the law  which probably has little chance of passing there or in the GOP House.  But it would certainly make points with the Hispanic community and act as the prelude to what the Dems might accomplish in November with Obama winning re-election and an increase in numbers in both the House and Senate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s