Arizona officials reacted this morning after the nation's high court ruled that Arizona can require state and local police to check the immigration status of those they have stopped.
In a split opinion, the Supreme Court rejected arguments by the Obama administration that the provision of SB 1070, approved by lawmakers two years ago, illegally intrudes into the exclusive power of the federal government to regulate immigration. The majority said U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton should not have enjoined the law until state courts had an opportunity to review it and see how it would be implemented.
But the justices did conclude that other provisions of the 2010 law are preempted by federal statutes, including making it a state crime for those not in the country legally to see employment.
Today's decision is not likely to be the last word, even about what foes have dubbed the "papers, please'' provision.
This case involved solely the issue of conflicts with federal law. There are several other lawsuits still pending before Bolton who issued the original injunction against SB 1070 which raise different constitutional arguments.
And today's ruling says only that the parts of the law upheld, on their face, are legal. That still leaves the possibility for what lawyers call an "as applied'' challenge, meaning that the way the statute is being enforced violates someone's rights.
In fact, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the opinion for the court, said he and his colleagues want Arizona courts to specifically address some of those concerns.
He said, for example, someone might be stopped for jaywalking in Tucson and be unable to produce identification.
Roberts said SB 1070 requires officers to make a "reasonable'' attempt to verify that person's immigration status with federal officials if there is reasonable suspicion that person is in the country illegal.
"The state courts may conclude that, unless the person continues to be suspected of some crime for which he may be detained by state officers, it would not be reasonable to prolong the stop for the immigration inquiry,'' he wrote.
In fact, Kennedy suggested the Obama administration brought the challenge to that section far too early, even before the law took effect.
"There is a basic uncertainty about what the law means and how it will be enforced,'' he wrote.
"t this stage, without the benefit of a definitive interpretation from the state courts, it would be inappropriate to assume (that section) will be construed in a way that creates a conflict with federal law.''
Following are reactions from Arizona officials:
Gov. Jan Brewer
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.
While we are grateful for this legal victory, today is an opportunity to reflect on our journey and focus upon the true task ahead: the implementation and enforcement of this law 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. The case for SB 1070 has always been about our support for the rule of law. 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.
Janet Napolitano, homeland security secretary:
The Court's decision not to strike down Section Two at this time will make DHS' work more challenging. Accordingly, DHS will implement operational enhancements to its programs in Arizona to ensure that the agency can remain focused on its priorities.
House Speaker Andy Tobin:
It is unfortunate the Obama Administration is not interested in enforcing the law and attempted, through Attorney General Holder, to prevent SB 1070 from being implemented. SB 1070 would not have been necessary had the administration been willing to support Arizona with appropriate enforcement strategies.
State Senate President Steve Pierce:
Our state has grown frustrated by the lack of security at our border with Mexico and inaction by the federal government. SB 1070 grew out of that frustration. It was a common sense bill that I supported, along with nearly every member of our Caucus.
Todd Landfried, spokesman, Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform:
We hope that this important decision will discourage states from considering state--level immigration laws and push Congress to directly address the issue of immigration reform expeditiously in a practical and positive manner that helps our businesses, economy and country succeed and grow while ensuring our Nation's security.
Caroline Isaacs, director, American Friends Service Committee Tucson office:
Today's ruling unfortunately upholds the worst part of this mean-spirited law, even as it overturns other sections. In effect, it legalizes racial profiling. How can law enforcement know a person's immigration status simply by looking at them? Most troubling is this decision undermines the moral fiber of the U.S. Constitution, and can be used by other states to enact laws that also enable racial profiling.
I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. 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 - it's part of the problem. At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court's decision recognizes.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton:
Today's Supreme Court decision that much of SB 1070 is unconstitutional is a stark reminder of the need for Congress to act immediately on comprehensive immigration reform. It also reminds us that our State Legislature should stop focusing on divisive issues and instead spend their time on job creation and smart economic development for the State of Arizona.
Ali Noorani, executive director, National Immigration Forum:
Just as the nation is inching closer to a consensus on the need for solutions on immigration, the Supreme Court is dividing the nation. While the Supreme Court largely agreed that S.B. 1070 goes against our Constitution, it still left one dangerous provision, Section 2 (B) which is the pointy end of the sword of the Arizona immigration law. The implementation of the racial profiling inherent in Section 2(B) will cause irreparable harm in Arizona.
Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles:
This is a big victory for those of us who thought SB1070 was a bad law that unfairly criminalized undocumented immigrants. The Court today invalidated most of the statute and even left open the possibility that the only clause that they didn't strike down - which allows state police to check the immigration status of anyone they detain - be eventually challenged in federal court again and found unconstitutional.
Bill Montgomery, Maricopa County attorney:
Earlier this month, the President played election year politics, pandering without offering a real solution to matters of great concern to Arizona and our Nation. Today, the Supreme Court upheld the rule of law. Tomorrow, Arizona law enforcement will (ITALICS) continue (ROMAN) to do their job on our behalf, respecting the civil rights of all and upholding our state and federal constitutions and real prosecutors will exercise true discretion without violating our oath to uphold the law.
Jon Kyl and John McCain (joint statement):
While we still want to fully review the Supreme Court's decision, today's ruling appears to validate a key component of Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070. 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 a political agenda, not the laws as written by Congress.
Regina Jefferies, chair, Arizona chapter, American Immigration Lawyers Association:
Arizona AILA has every expectation that law enforcement will follow the law and treat everyone, regardless of race or nationality, with dignity and respect. But we'll also serve as watchdogs to make sure that happens, and provide representation to those who need it, to make sure everyone is treated fairly. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision today allowing the ``papers please" provision of SB 1070 to go into effect doesn't make it smart policy, not for our economy, not for diversity and not for human rights.
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix.
The Supreme Court ruling on SB1070 is not surprising. What we need is comprehensive immigration reform and border security so we can solve this issue for the long-term, not more divisive legislation and bickering. In light of today's ruling, I ask all leaders at every level of government to put aside their political agendas and partisanship to work together on comprehensive, fair and effective immigration reform and border security.
Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley, D-Tucson:
Arizonans expect and deserve reasonable immigration reform. SB 1070 is a far cry from reasonable. It lets politicians get away with political grandstanding instead of enacting real reform. We need substantive reform and we need to ensure our police officers have the tools they need to crack down on true criminals and keep our communities safe and secure.