The author of the Arizona law that infuriated the Obama administration by providing that state law enforcement officials could crack down on illegal aliens who already were violating federal law has asked an appeals court to overturn a district judge’s injunction.
“Even though the Arizona Legislature has done nothing more than enact a series of law enforcement provisions under its well-recognized police powers to protect its citizens from serious public safety concerns, the district court has denied Arizona law enforcement officers the opportunity to reasonably interpret and apply the provisions in a constitutionally valid manner,” according to the new brief filed by Judicial Watch.
The public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption submitted the filing on behalf of Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, the author of S.B. 1070. The brief asks the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a preliminary injunction granted in part by a lower court July 28, just as the law was about to take effect.
Because of a lawsuit by the Obama administration that decried the law as racist, even though it specifically prohibits racial profiling, a federal court put on hold four of S.B. 1070’s key provisions.
Judicial Watch defended the provisions that the judge suspended:
- Section 2(B) [reasonable attempt to determine a person’s immigration status] “imposes no ‘new’ burden on lawfully present aliens because Arizona law enforcement officials have the discretion to inquire about a person’s immigration status regardless of Section 2(B). Section 2(B) also does not place any undue burden on federal resources because Congress has mandated that the federal government respond to requests from state and local law enforcement officers about persons’ immigration status.”
- Section 3 [willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document] “does not regulate the conditions under which a lawfully present alien may remain in the country. Instead, Section 3 utilizes ordinary state police powers to create criminal penalties for the failure to comply with a federal registration scheme.”
- Invoking Arizona’s broad authority to regulate employment under its police powers, Section 5 [unlawful employment of illegal aliens] “seeks to strengthen Arizona’s economy by protecting the state’s fiscal interests and lawfully resident labor force from the harmful effects resulting from the employment of unlawfully present aliens.”
- Section 6 [warrantless arrest] “does not grant Arizona law enforcement officers the authority to determine whether an individual has committed a public offense that makes him removable. Section 6 only authorizes Arizona law enforcement officers to make a warrantless arrest of an individual who has already been determined to have committed a public offense that makes him removable.”
Pearce, in a statement released with the announcement about the filing, said for the courts, the decision should be a “no-brainer.”
“I hope the appeals court allows our state to enforce the rule of law because the Obama administration doesn’t seem to care one whit for the safety of the citizens of Arizona. S.B. 1070 simply reflects federal immigration law,” he said. “This Obama team doesn’t want immigration laws enforced – but that doesn’t mean that Arizona can’t take common sense steps to protect its own citizens. ”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton explained that Pearce “specifically crafted” the law “to be entirely consistent with federal law.”
He said, “The district court jumped the gun by invalidating components of the law on a purely speculative basis. It is shameful that the Obama administration has chosen to mount a legal assault against the state of Arizona for simply trying to protect its citizens. It is little wonder that the situation at the border continues to deteriorate given the Obama administration’s unwillingness to secure the border and enforce the law. We hope the appellate court respects the rule of law and allows S.B. 1070 to be put into full force.”
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck the state law’s provisions, drawing applause from both the U.S. and Mexican governments.
The case is expected ultimately to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.
But national support continues to grow for the law, which is designed to make up for a lack of federal enforcement of immigration laws by giving more authority to state officials.
“This is a matter of America’s sovereignty and security, and every patriotic American must get involved,” said Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center.
The organization, a national, public-interest law firm in Michigan, said it is filing a brief in support of Arizona’s law.
“If we can’t defend our borders from attack by illegal immigrants, in time we will lose our country,” Thompson said. “What confidence should we have in an attorney general who, without even reading the law, accused Arizona of racial profiling? Patriotic Americans must show they stand with Arizona in this matter.”
Those affirming Bolton included the Mexican government, which had complained to Congress about the law, which made it a crime to be illegally in Arizona.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said the ruling fails the logic test.
“The federal government has a right and a responsibility to enforce existing laws, but when they fail to meet that responsibility, we should not stand in the way of the states that take action to respond to the very real threat of border violence, drug cartels and human smuggling,” he said. “The people who live under the constant threat of border violence have every right to be protected and have every right to defend themselves, their families and their communities.”
He said the ruling was “beyond absurd.”
The American Center for Law and Justice said the ruling was “extremely disappointing.”
The organization had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case on behalf of 81 members of Congress in support of the state’s effort.
“It is unfortunate that this court blocked key portions of Arizona’s immigration law S.B. 1070 and failed to permit it to take effect in its entirety,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the organization. “We believe the federal district court got it wrong and in its complex ruling has made it even more difficult for Arizona to protect and defend its borders. We believe Arizona’s law complements federal law and remain hopeful that the appeals process will ultimately produce a decision that underscores the fact that Arizona has a constitutional right to protect its citizens and defend its borders. This decision marks the beginning of a lengthy legal process that will have tremendous ramifications nationwide.”