Last Updated:November 20 @ 12:22 pm

Ariz. migrant case could lead to sweeping changes

By Jacques Billeaud

PHOENIX (AP) -- The United States could see an official about-face in the coming months in how it confronts illegal immigration if the Supreme Court follows through on its suggestion that it would let local police enforce the most controversial part of Arizona's immigration law.

Over the last several years, states frustrated with America's porous borders, have rejected the long held notion that Washington is responsible for confronting illegal immigration and have passed a flurry of laws to let local police confront illegal immigration. The Supreme Court is poised in the coming months to let the states know whether they haven't crossed the line.

The justices strongly suggested Wednesday that they are ready to let Arizona enforce the most controversial part of its law, a requirement that police officers check the immigration status of people they suspect are in the country illegally. Such a ruling could codify the type of local enforcement that some local authorities in Arizona have carried out over the last six years and open the door to such enforcement in states with similar laws, such as Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah.

"I think you'll see more involvement by local police in immigration enforcement, an involvement that hadn't previously been seen," Kevin Johnson, law school dean at the University of California-Davis and an expert in immigration law, said of the possibility of Arizona's law being upheld.

The most controversial parts of the Arizona law were put on hold by a federal judge shortly before they were to take effect in late July 2010, but the statute has encouraged other states to take up similar legislation and - combined with other state immigration laws and an ailing economy - played a part in 170,000 illegal immigrants leaving Arizona since 2007.

"If you want to turn around this invasion, then (you should) do attrition through enforcement," said former state Sen. Russell Pearce, architect of the 2010 law and the driving force behind other Arizona immigration laws, echoing the stated purpose of the 2010 state law.

Arizona has argued it pays a disproportionate price for illegal immigration because of its 370-mile border with Mexico and its role as the busiest illegal entry point into the country.

The Obama administration, which challenged the law, said the law conflicts with a more nuanced federal immigration policy that seeks to balance national security, law enforcement, foreign policy, human rights and the rights of law-abiding citizens and immigrants. Civil rights groups that back the administration say Arizona's and the other states' measures encourage racial profiling and ethnic stereotyping.

A decision in the case is expected in late June.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, whose office has helped defend the law, predicted the Supreme Court will uphold the law because many of its provision mirror existing federal laws and that a year from now the state will see even less illegal immigration. "You won't see anything that noticeable as far as law enforcement goes," Horne said. "But you will see less people sneaking across the border."

The Supreme Court's comments on the most controversial requirement in Arizona's law surprised state officials who had supported the law and had thus far lost all major court battles over the law. "I think we'll win. It's just how big we win," Pearce said.

Immigrant rights advocates, who believed the courts would reject attempts by states to grab more law enforcement power, also were surprised and said a validation of the law by the Supreme Court would frighten immigrants further and cause Latinos who are here legally to be asked about their immigration status.

"The crisis here in Arizona would only multiply," said Carlos Garcia, organizer of an immigration march that drew several hundred people in downtown Phoenix on Wednesday. Authorities said at least nine people were arrested for blocking a street and refusing to move. "It would mean that anyone, as they are leaving their home - whether they are going to work, to church, where ever they are going - could be asked for their documents."

During arguments Wednesday over the Arizona law, liberal and conservative justices reacted skeptically to the Obama administration's argument that the state exceeded its authority when it made the records check, and another provision allowing suspected illegal immigrants to be arrested without a warrant, part of the Arizona law aimed at driving illegal immigrants elsewhere.

It was unclear what the court would do with other aspects of the law that have been put on hold by lower federal courts. The other blocked provisions make it a state crime for immigrants not to have immigration registration papers and for illegal immigrants to seek work or hold a job.

Peter Spiro, a Tempe University law professor who specializes in immigration law, predicted the court would uphold the police check of immigration status in Arizona's law, but said he wouldn't be surprised if the court threw out a provision making it a crime to be without immigration documents.

Such a ruling would let police question people about their immigration status if they have good reason to do so, but police would have to call federal authorities to see if they would want to pick up anyone found to be in the country illegally. If federal agents decline, officers would have to release the people, unless they were suspected of committing crimes, Spiro said.

If that happened, the law would be mostly symbolic, but would still carry some significance for immigrants, Spiro said.

"It would make it clear that Arizona is unfriendly to undocumented aliens," Spiro said.

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57 Comments

  1. mbmbcsComment by mbmbcs
    April 26, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

    Would this be strike two for the big “O”, both backfiring in his face??????

    Shrike one if his unrealistic healthcare plan is shot down and strike two the wrench he threw in to securing our borders??????????

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      April 26, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

      Seems like that could really put a couple of nails in his coffin as far as his getting re-elected.

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    • davnkatzComment by davnkatz
      April 26, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

      Now, if we can just get the voter ID laws (of Southern states) into a SCOTUS hearing and ruling by this summer, that would be the third and final nail. Funny that 35+ states now have voter ID laws, but holder & obummer have a grip on Southern sttes. The laws of all are very similar. Without a doubt, voter ID laws will be ruled Constitutional.

      Best part of that is it severely diminishes the dhimmies source of voter power (vote early and often incl illegal & non-citizens).

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    • wanchai_warriorComment by bundoker
      April 26, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

      Strike three if the AZ Sheriff makes his birther case.

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  2. stymied4sureComment by stymied4sure
    April 26, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

    Wouldn’t the local police be a bit busy to check someone just because they can? That could happen but likely enough to allow most of the illegals to slip through? I would think the people who are in America legally would be incensed to think that our government is going to give the illegals a free pass. I’m sure they spent a lot of time and effort to be where they are and are much better citizens for having done so. To be totally honest, probably better citizens than a lot of us who just take it as our just due and like the illegals, never had to fight for one minute of it.

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    • crappieComment by crappie
      April 26, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

      illegal is illegal so what if they have to wait or go to jail,
      we need the gov to back these laws and let our cops do there job.

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    • cxComment by genesal
      April 26, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

      That’s not what this law does (stop people just because they can). There is the need for PC (probably cause). They have to be stopped for something like broken tail lights, no plates, and hundreds of other reasons that they are stopped already. Then and only then, if there is suspicion that they might be here illegally, they may be asked for proof they are here legally.

      These defensive efforts culminated in 2010 with the passage of SB1070, an anti-illegal immigration enforcement bill most known for its requirement that state and local law enforcement officers inquire into the immigration status of people they have ‘already stopped for legitimate reasons’, when they reasonably suspect that the persons are in the country illegally.

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    • KMcCComment by KMcC
      April 26, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

      I agree there must be probable cause. What is probable cause? Well if the person was stopped and could not speak any reasonable amount of English, only Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Swedish, etc., then there is a High Possiblility they should be checked for immagration status.

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    • linfComment by lin
      April 26, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

      I agree, stymied4sure, that LE is too busy to check people without any cause, making it a silly argument for pro-porous borders folks to raise. I also agree that those who waited for their turned and immigrated legally should be incensed at those who want to reward the scofflaws.

      A friend waited years to bring his wife here legally. As you suggested, he truly appreciates his citizenship and wouldn’t bite the hand that let him immigrate. Why should those who ignored our laws get better treatment than those that follow it?

      Yes, KMcC, an inability to speak English and no valid tourism VISA, while not dispositive, should constitute probable cause that someone may be here illegally.

      http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=86bd6811264a3210VgnVCM100000b92ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=86bd6811264a3210VgnVCM100000b92ca60aRCRD

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    • davnkatzComment by davnkatz
      April 26, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

      There is an extremely EASY way to avoid charges of profiling and cover every possibility (not every illegal is Mexican).

      Just give sufficient notice – say, 6 months – that EVERYONE stopped or questioned for ANY reason will be required to provide proof of citizenship. I, personally, would not have any hhesitation in providing the required info. Illegals would suddenly self-deport to other areas or states without such laws. Make the same thing a Federal law and – bingo – end of illegal problem.

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    • downdraftComment by downdraft
      April 27, 2012 @ 8:38 am

      ” I would think the people who are in America legally would be incensed ”

      Well…where the hell are those “legals”…they haven’t put a dog in this fight to protect our borders, and have sat quietly, thus like a silent encouragement to their illegal brethren…

      Sound familiar?

      Just like where are the legal Muslim citizens in the fight for this country, as well as being vocal, standing up and being counted for America…????

      If America’s borders, if our laws are to survive…THEN WE HERE MUST DO IT!…the “silent” others I’ve mentioned are unreliable.

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  3. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    April 26, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    Even if the cops don’t check immigration status on every vehicle they stop, the fact that they might is enough to move illegals out of state.

    The ‘sanctuary cities’ have already been screaming that their resources are being overtaxed by an influx of illegals ‘relocating’ to friendlier places.

    Well, boo-hoo Diversity Protagonists. Coddling illegals is a big reason for why you are already bankrupt, and sending you more just seems like a reasonable thing to do.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      April 26, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

      If that isn’t poetic justice, I don’t know what is.

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    • wanchai_warriorComment by bundoker
      April 26, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

      Kinda like the possibility of a speeding ticket compared to the percentage of actual stops.

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    • begneli2011Comment by begneli2011
      April 26, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

      So right Vietnam vet. If a law is not enforced then why obey it?
      It will have immediate impact. It is a sad time in our nation. But we cannot stop fighting.

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  4. backgammon48Comment by backgammon48
    April 26, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

    I just finished an article that stated, our economy is so bad that the illegals are going back to Mexico. When I visit Europe I must carry my passport at ALL times. What is wrong with people who are here legally having their papers? Expressly in border towns where illegals tend to hide. The cost of illigals has been guesstimated but how about the money earned by illegals that is sent back to Mexico? That can not help our economy.

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    • itallmattersComment by itallmatters
      April 26, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

      Don’t be so fast to BELIEVE the numbers of illegals departing. Numbers are constantly manipulated by this Administration and all the Liberal Media to put more favor on the POTUS. I am quite skeptical of this information and so should be everyone.

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  5. KMcCComment by KMcC
    April 26, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

    I got a jury summons from Harris County (Houston) Tx. Here is what it reads “Persons claming the lack of citizenship will no longer be eligible to vote, if the person fails to provide proof of citizenship.” I thought this was very strange that these persons without citizenship were acknowledged as VOTES in Harris County! Obama issued a order to Stop the Texas Photo ID for Voting, IS TEHER ANY WONDER WHY WITH WORD LIKE THIS OFFICAL DOCUMENT SAYING PEOPLE ARE ALL READY VOTING WHO ARE NOT CITIZENS???

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    • linfComment by lin
      April 26, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

      And then they get excused from jury duty because of that whole not being a citizen thing:

      http://www.nbc-2.com/story/16961885/nbc2-investigation-sparks-criminal-investigation

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    • KMcCComment by KMcC
      April 26, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

      Lin, I don’t believe Obama’s freeze on Photo IDs apply to Florida. However, I do not understand why Harris county in Texas is Not taking similar steps nor why our TV stations are not running the same type of Sting.

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    • itallmattersComment by itallmatters
      April 26, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

      Just does not seem right that those who are not citizens should be voting – and able to make decisions about our laws and leaders…but this Administration is corrupt beyond imagination and will stop at absolutely NOTHING to win again in November. Chicago Politics brought to Washington D.C. in the most VILE and abhorrent manners. When (and IF) he departs his castle called the WHITEHOUSE – the information gleened will be extraordinary and mind boggling.

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    • linfComment by lin
      April 27, 2012 @ 6:25 am

      KMcC, Florida asks for ID. My point was that some illegals want all of the privileges of citizenship but are quick to use their illegal status to get out of the responsibilities of citizenship. Especially in Texas and other states being sued, I’d think they’d want to uncover fraud. Perhaps you could suggest local stations do a similar investigation.

      ====================
      I’m in that bunker; are you? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isW3xvQS8e8

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  6. KMcCComment by KMcC
    April 26, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

    I see my keyboard had dyslexia on my post above…sorry on my proofing.

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  7. LTComment by blt2go
    April 26, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

    In so far as the states are concerned, the INS is a non-functioning federal agency by administration edict and thus they have the states right to create their own laws and enforce them when the fed intentionally are subverting the laws to create amnesty for illegals to have the votes to win the next presidential election. It is a conspiracy and unconstitutional. So for the illegals, just go home and apply properly and then you have the opportunity to com in and earn a citizenship. AZ is a leader and so is GA.

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  8. unclejjComment by unclejj
    April 26, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

    I have stated this from the beginning; every time LE has a meaningful conversation (beyond exchanging pleasantries) they get I.D. Guy says no I.D., run the name he gives & see if he exhists. If these come up short, turn up the heat.

    In 16 years of LE I have come across three illegals. It is moronic to think officers are going to stop doing police work to go hunt illegals; The other work is still pouring out of the 911 center and doesn’t stop. The feds still tell you to let them go or hold them, so it is not a green light to round up Mexicans. The first one I came across was involved in a minor traffic matter, owned a nice car, had no license, although he did have forged documents.

    He was identified as illegal & Feds said to hold him. He was quite indignant that we had the nerve to take him into custody as he was second generation illegal (his words not mine). We didn’t even discuss the forged documents being a felony.

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  9. jen68Comment by jen68
    April 26, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

    Things seem to be backfiring for Obama and his puppet masteres Soros and Brzezinski. Nothing seems to be going according to plan. These three communists are determined to overthrow this country but its not going to happen. Obama is only a puppet in the scheme of things.

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  10. itallmattersComment by itallmatters
    April 26, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

    The voter FRAUD that will occur in November will make all past elections look like child’s play. This POTUS fully supports the “Ends justifies the Means”. Look out, and if you can, become a Pool Watcher in your State – it pays money – but it is about 13 hours of work. Well worth every minute if we can stop the dead and illegal from voting over and over.

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  11. Pingback: Ariz. migrant case could lead to sweeping changes - ALIPAC

  12. Doc SmithComment by Doc Smith
    April 26, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

    One of the changes should be “shoot to kill”

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  13. JuneComment by June
    April 27, 2012 @ 5:06 am

    No where in SB1070 does it say “police can check your documentation, just because they can” and they do NOT operate in that fashion. The “liberals” and “pro-amnesty supporters” do “just love” to “fear monger” to the extreme!

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  14. justice4allComment by justice4all
    April 27, 2012 @ 10:11 am

    A tall, blond, blue eye, light skin, illegal person. And a legal Spanish looking person. Who do you think the police is going to stop for their status?

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    • LenaComment by Mona
      April 27, 2012 @ 10:17 am

      Police aren’t going to stop anyone for their status.

      If someone is stopped for a traffic violation or police are investigating a crime they will have the right to ask for proof of citizenship.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      April 27, 2012 @ 11:56 am

      I’ll answer that for you justice4all. The Spanish looking person. There, I said it, are you happy now? And you know perfectly well why that is. It’s just a fact of life that an illegal alien in this country is much more likely to be Hispanic than white or any other race. So yes, we do profile, it’s one of those “necessary evils”, just like we profile Middle Eastern-looking people at airports. I’m sorry if that seems xenophobic to you, but sometimes life just isn’t fair and you have to deal with reality, harsh though it may be. Profiling may seem unfair, but Israel uses it as a matter of routine at the major airports, and who knows how many lives may have been saved by it.

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  15. justice4allComment by justice4all
    April 27, 2012 @ 10:38 am

    Mona, tell that to the police that stopped me a few times, arguing untrue violations. This law is to target against the Spanish looking person.

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    • LenaComment by Mona
      April 27, 2012 @ 10:47 am

      Don’t whine to me. I’m sick of all race baiters.

      Everyone is sometimes stopped and ticketed or warned about a traffic violation including those of us who are blonde with green eyes. I have no problem showing proof of identity, proof of car ownership and proof of insurance. If I can do that, so can you. That IS justice for all.

      If you are not here legally, go home or be deported.

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    • linfComment by lin
      April 27, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

      justice4all, if you’re repeatedly stopped, have you considered that it may not be your ethnicity that is attracting attention? Or are you such a racist that everything is viewed through a racial prism?

      ==============================

      I’m in that bunker; are you? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isW3xvQS8e8

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  16. cxComment by genesal
    April 27, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    This law take nothing away from, adds nothing to the already enforceable Federal Laws concerning immigration. People quit making stuff up please.

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  17. justice4allComment by justice4all
    April 27, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    Right the Key Word is FEDERAL.

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  18. justice4allComment by justice4all
    April 27, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    Mona I wrote UNTRUE VIOLATIONS. Get it?

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    • LenaComment by Mona
      April 27, 2012 @ 11:11 am

      I got it all along. My response still applies.

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    • cxComment by genesal
      April 27, 2012 @ 11:14 am

      What the hell is an UNTRUE VIOLATION? and even if that were the case, that’s a ‘police’ problem not a ‘law’ problem. Seems like you’d know that with that moniker!

      Nothing in our Constitution prohibits States from paralleling Federal law and we think SCOTUS will prove that point true very soon, as most indicators point to them upholding Arizona law.

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  19. justice4allComment by justice4all
    April 27, 2012 @ 11:13 am

    Mona, just creating false violation is Ok with you.

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  20. justice4allComment by justice4all
    April 27, 2012 @ 11:27 am

    The problem with the closed mind is: to have a open mouth.

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    • cxComment by genesal
      April 27, 2012 @ 11:32 am

      English, please!

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  21. cxComment by genesal
    April 27, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    I hate it when people come to this country not knowing our laws and yet don’t like our laws that they don’t know or understand and want to change our laws to the laws from whence they came, the laws which ruined their own country and made them want to come here for a better way of life in the first place.

    They want it to enable them to live the same third world lifestyle here instead of the third world lifestyle of their home country.

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    • billwvComment by billwv
      April 27, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

      Most of our [undocumented] ‘south-of-the-border’ friends think that ‘illegal’ must be a sick-bird. Get ‘caught’ south-of-the-border without a passport and/or visa; then try getting out of jail. Our country is ‘paradise’ in comparison !

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  22. justice4allComment by justice4all
    April 27, 2012 @ 11:33 am

    Sounds Xenophobic to me.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      April 27, 2012 @ 11:52 am

      How is it xenophobic to want secure borders and make sure everyone who is here is a legal resident? Methinks thou protesteth too much.

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    • cxComment by genesal
      April 27, 2012 @ 11:55 am

      Now I know you’re an illegal lib.

      Went to school in California in San Lorenzo, lived on Via Media and went to school at Arroyo High School, with American Mexicans.
      Been to Australia, loved it, loved the people. Been to Japan, loved the people. Spent a year in Viet Nam, loved the people. Spent 3 years in Germany, loved the people. Worked with Filipinos 10 years in Silicon Valley, love them. Married a ‘foreigner’.

      So now you’re just making yourself look plain silly with the name calling (old lib tactic) and unable to discuss or properly debate the topic at hand. So good luck convincing others, racist.

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    • linfComment by lin
      April 27, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

      America allows more legal immigration that most, if not all, other countries in the world. Every other country in the world punishes immigration law violations much more harshly than does America. In addition, America has the more diverse population than (almost) any other country in the world.

      Ergo, America is the least xenophobic country in the world.

      Perhaps you should examine the immigration laws of some other countries before condemning those of America. Here is a summary of Mexico’s: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/04/04/mexico%e2%80%99s-immigration-laws-the-untold-story/

      ======================

      I’m in that bunker; are you? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isW3xvQS8e8

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    • linfComment by lin
      April 27, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

      America allows more legal immigration that most, if not all, other countries in the world. Every other country in the world punishes immigration law violations much more harshly than does America. In addition, America has the more diverse population than (almost) any other country in the world.

      Ergo, America is the least xenophobic country in the world.

      Perhaps you should examine the immigration laws of some other countries before condemning those of America. Here is a summary of Mexico’s: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/04/04/mexico%e2%80%99s-immigration-laws-the-untold-story/

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  23. justice4allComment by justice4all
    April 27, 2012 @ 11:54 am

    You stated that you hated the people who came from other countries with their own costumes.

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    • cxComment by genesal
      April 27, 2012 @ 11:57 am

      Where would that text be?

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  24. linfComment by lin
    April 27, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    @genesal – you’re clearly having an “on” day, so rather than going through and replying individually to each post, let me just add a blanket “Amen, Amen, and AMEN!”

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  25. justice4allComment by justice4all
    April 27, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

    You gave a very wrong description about me. You aimed to far off. Hate quickly disipate Love is for eternity. Good luck to you too.

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