published Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Mixed immigration ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down three parts of Arizona's immigration law on Monday, but let its most controversial provision stand. The ruling affirms the supremacy of federal law over state regulations governing immigration -- a triumph for the Obama administration. The court's approval of the so-called "show me your papers" provision of those laws, however, makes the victory incomplete. Those who favor harsher laws governing illegal immigrants view that approval as vindication of their stance. A more definitive ruling will be necessary to fully resolve the issue.

Monday's ruling gives each side in the immigration debate something for each side to celebrate. The administration clearly would have preferred an across-the-board ruling that invalidated each of the four major points in the Arizona regulations. It did not get it.

Administration opponents certainly don't like the high court's ruling, but they are still claiming victory because the court let stand what they view as the key component of the Arizona regulations. The provision unanimously upheld by the justices requires police to check the immigration status of someone they stop for another reason and who they suspect is in the country illegally. The so-called victory for hard-liners on immigration is at best a tenuous one.

The justices did not rule that the "show me your papers" rule was constitutional. That's an open invitation for challenges to the regulations. Those challenges should and will come. There's sound reason to challenge the law upheld by the justices. It is an open invitation to racial profiling.

Racial profiling is offensive and unjust. Moreover, a law that requires the police to check the immigration status of any person they stop for another offense if they have a suspicion that the person might be an illegal immigrant is ripe for abuse.

Those most likely to be stopped in that circumstance are individuals who fit a predetermined stereotype. In Arizona, a state with an admittedly major illegal immigrant problem, that stereotype likely would mean Hispanics, whose language, accent or skin color would make them likely targets of overzealous law- enforcement officials. Neither skin color nor language, of course, is a sign of immigration status or illegal activity. Anything that suggests so is simply wrong.

The justices struck down Arizona laws that required all immigrants to have and to carry registration papers, that made it a state crime for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job and that allowed police to arrest suspected illegal immigrant without warrants. Those decisions affirm the administration's belief that the federal not state government has the mandate to superintend ,immigration.

The court's mixed ruling, though, leaves wiggle room for states to act on their own in some ways when it comes to immigration. That's disruptive to national interests. What's needed is comprehensive immigration reform. That's a job for Congress, but that body -- riven by partisanship and focused on November elections -- is unlikely to address the issue anytime soon.

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But but it's a victory for Arizona!

Now they can prove they will solve their problems by checking papers!

June 26, 2012 at 12:03 a.m.
chatt_man said...

Not really, as the Obama administration has told federal immigration officials not to respond to local traffic stops or law-enforcement encounters in Arizona unless the detained person is a recent border crosser, has already been removed from the country and reentered the United States unlawfully, or is a convicted criminal.

I guess they'll have to check their papers to see if they have "recently crossed the border", or have "been removed from the country before, and entered illegally, again", or has already been convicted of a felony crime. What a frigg'n joke.

The article I read went on to say "while Democrats called for beefed-up voter registration and hinted at the dire effect of a possible Latino exodus on the tax base".

Oh, if we could only be faced with that problem.

June 26, 2012 at 1:30 p.m.

Yeah, damn federal officials prioritizing for actual criminals and not spending all their time chasing after nobodies while real felons get away.

You're like somebody complaining that the police aren't catching a litterer because they'd rather chase after a bank robber.

June 26, 2012 at 4:03 p.m.
chatt_man said...

No, I'm like somebody that's friggin appalled that our President thinks he can pick and choose the laws he wants upheld, and the ones he doesn't. And if they don't suit him, to hell with the rule of law that's been set in this country ever since it's creation.

He's a damn disgrace, and even the leaders of other countries (that were supposed to swoon all over him) think he's the laughing stock of the world. And rightly so.

June 27, 2012 at 9:14 a.m.
raygunz said...

chatt_man said..."even the leaders of other countries (that were supposed to swoon all over him) think he's the laughing stock of the world."

That's a statement that I'd really like to see some back-up facts on,,or links to same. Unless it's just your opinion being presented as fact.

June 27, 2012 at 10:36 a.m.
Leaf said...

chatt_man needs to bone up on his middle school civics. You know, the three branches of government and what-not. I'm pretty sure that constitutional challenges to laws were what the founding fathers had in mind when they set up the Supreme Court.

June 27, 2012 at 3:11 p.m.
chatt_man said...

Leaf, either you're correct, or I don't understand the meaning of what you're saying. I agree that the Supreme Court is for the purpose you wrote.

What did I write that made you think I thought otherwise?

If it was "that our President thinks he can pick and choose the laws he wants upheld", then I was referring to him not forcing Holder to produce documents asked for by the Supreme Court, and telling the federal authorities to not respond to some of Arizona's calls pertaining to illegals that have crossed the border in their state.

Where was I wrong?

June 29, 2012 at 5:54 p.m.
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