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Showdown on Arizona immigration law goes to Supreme Court


This news story was published on April 23, 2012.
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By David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau –

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court and Obama administration are set for another politically charged clash Wednesday as the justices take up Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants.

It will be a rematch of the attorneys who argued the health care case a month ago and another chapter in the partisan philosophical struggle over states’ rights and the role of the federal government.

And once again, Obama’s lawyers are likely to face skeptical questions from the Supreme Court. Last year, the court’s five more-conservative justices rebuffed the administration and upheld an earlier Arizona immigration law that targeted employers who hired illegal workers.

To prevail this year, the administration must convince at least one of the five to switch sides and rule the state is going too far and interfering with the federal government’s control over immigration policy.

The election-year legal battle goes to the heart of the dispute between Republicans and Democrats over what to do about the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

Arizona and five other Republican-led states seek a stepped-up effort to arrest and deport illegal immigrants. They say the federal system is “broken” and fault Obama for a “relaxed” enforcement policy.

If cleared by the courts, Arizona would tell its police to check the immigration status of people they lawfully stop and suspect of being in the country illegally. If they were unable to show a driver’s license or other “proof of legal presence,” they would be arrested and held for federal immigration agents. Arizona also would make it a crime for illegal immigrants to seek work or to fail to carry immigration documents.

For its part, Obama’s administration favors targeted enforcement, not mass arrests of illegal immigrants.

The administration has gone after drug traffickers, smugglers, violent felons, security risks and repeat border crossers. Last year, nearly 400,000 people were deported, a record high. At the same time, the administration says mere “unlawful presence” in this country is not a federal crime, and it opposes state efforts to round up and arrest more illegal immigrants.

Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Utah also have adopted tough immigration enforcement laws. But judges have blocked many of their provisions, awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court..

Washington lawyer Paul Clement, President George W. Bush’s solicitor general, will argue for Arizona and Republican Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday; Obama’s solicitor general, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., will argue the Democratic administration’s case.

Clement is arguing for a stronger state role in enforcing the immigration laws, a traditional federal function. Verrilli is contending that Arizona’s “maximum enforcement” policy for immigration goes too far and conflicts with federal policy.

The court’s decision, expected by the end of June, could ignite the immigration issue in the presidential campaign.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he supports laws in Arizona and elsewhere that seek to drive away illegal immigrants. “The answer is self-deportation,” he said in one debate.

President Barack Obama, on the other hand, has expressed concern about the effect on millions of normally law-abiding Latinos, including those with U.S. citizenship.

The Arizona law “potentially would allow someone to be stopped and picked up and asked where their citizenship papers are based on an assumption,” Obama said in a recent interview. The president also supports the DREAM Act, a proposal that would offer a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants who earn diplomas or serve in the military.

Two years ago, Obama’s lawyers sued in federal court in Phoenix to block Arizona’s law. They argued the federal government’s exclusive power over immigration “preempts” the state’s law. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton agreed, as did the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Its 2-1 decision put on hold four key parts of Arizona’s law, including the stop-and-arrest provision.

If elected president, Romney has pledged to “drop these lawsuits on day one.”

The Supreme Court, however, may revive most or all of Arizona’s law by the summer.

Last year, the court, in a 5-3 decision, upheld the Arizona law that would take away the business licenses of employers who knowingly hire illegal workers. The Obama administration, civil rights groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had contended this state enforcement measure clashed with federal immigration law.

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6 Responses to Showdown on Arizona immigration law goes to Supreme Court

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 25, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    The job of the president is to uphold the Constitution, any time the Supreme Court steps in and over rules the administrations policies it just says, YEAH PRESIDENT YOU OR VIOLATING AMERICAN RIGHTS.

    Obama is about to get his ass handed to him on immigration, and health care right before we vote.

    I think one of the justices said it best when he compared forcing us to buy healthcare from a third party is like forcing us to buy a new car from a third party, just because it would make it cheaper for others.

  2. common sense Reply Report comment

    April 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Iam not very consevative but I do think the states have the right to enforce the laws of the land. If they can check my ID for no reason then why not them.

  3. Dave Francis Reply Report comment

    April 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    In a new Reuters-Ipsos opinion poll ( not exclusively a rightist newspaper) found about 70 percent of those surveyed favored state laws that let police check a person’s immigration status and make it a crime for an illegal immigrant to work in the United States; about 30 percent opposed such measures. WHAT MORE PROOF DOES THIS ADMINISTRATION WANT? THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS COSTLY TRAVESTY? This week the Supreme Court will hear Arizona vs. United States and if its policing statutes go against this small defenseless border state, the American voter must push, pursue and use the severe pressure of the vote to verbally intimidate every Republican, Democrat and Liberal to get the “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT” in front of the House, before taxpayers suffer any more at the hands of corrupt politicians who have sold us into financial slavery.

    Repeating that special visas should be expedited for top professionals in Science, Engineering, and a whole range of high technology, given us the brain power for a futuristic U.S, but we must spend the money to check on females who are carrying an unborn infant, with new detection systems at entry ports, as 400.000 arrivals are ready to conceive annually and then apply for welfare. Just calculate the uncompensated cost to hospitals that have to pay for these deliveries, that are then passed on to taxpayers? By the Congress just amending the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 (H.R.140) the country could discontinue this billion dollar soaking of individual states? Don’t know who to call in Washington, and then phone 202-224-3121 the switchboard that will connect you with your Representative? Every prudential contender would be well advised to read the immigration sullen statistics advanced by “The Heritage Foundation” Can we afford 2.5 Trillion dollars to legitimize the 20 million plus Illegal’s who have settled here? That is what the Heritage Foundation has forecasts. Not all Tea Partier’s have excellent grades as found on the American patrol site, that not only covers the illegal alien issue, but a daily helping of the e-media from the National press, but anything that is against “the Rule of law’ and the sovereignty of this nation, constantly broken by Obama people.

    NOVEMBER! It could be the rebirth of America, as the Tea Party, the PEOPLE’S PARTY, the Constitutional Party gains more seats in the Senate and House. A takeover! Hundreds of thousands of people, most probably millions, who have never shown any political interest before, have been made aware that the leftists are going to press non-citizens in registering to vote. Without any State Boards of Elections regulations being reevaluated, that shows a picture ID of the person voting, saying who they say they are, than the whole trust concept will be compromised? Already in Florida, Georgia and Colorado large numbers of non citizens and illegal immigrants have been revealed through television interviews. The U.S. senate candidate may have been decided by convicted felons who voted illegally in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. If there had been an honest election and incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman had won, there would never had been nearly a trillion dollars stimulus package.

    With so much at stake the Democrats have a demonstrated a record of signing up canvassers, who have less than reputable reputations that includes ACORN, justifiably being prosecuted in eleven states for registering non-citizens in large numbers. The left have been crafting committees to overturn any chance of many states, insisting on the use of showing official ID. Attorney General Eric Holder, ‘FAST AND FURIOUS PREDATOR’ has failed and shown great reluctance to prosecute groups, like the re-emergence of the Black Panthers to investigate intimidation and wrongdoing. Holder has also beneficial for the Democrats in using a strong arm to harass Arizona and freedom loving states, to stop the financial bleeding process of taxpayers, burdened perpetually for medical, schooling of unfunded court mandates. He is being shielded by the Obama Czars, thralls like Axelrod and even Obama himself, who are not apologetic. A TEA PARTY majority in the Senate and House can at least prosecute Eric Holder and his followers in his peer’s court.

    Most signatories to the European Union including France must possess some form of official Identification to vote. Before even Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy could vote, he was seen in television broadcast of handing over to election supervisors an identification passport like document. France has had a national ID card for all citizens since the beginning of World War II in 1940. The majority of countries included in the European Union must carry some form of picture ID, except for the United Kingdom that relies on a Drivers License, other than foreign nations who must carry an ID card.

    It is unlikely that America will ever be issued a national ID card, but if it came about like in other nations, many of the issues that cause billions of dollars in court cases, congressional oversight and other situations governing this would be a thing of the past. And the communist founded ACLU couldn’t torture the American people no more, with their political correctness doctrine. Its well established fact by now that because racial profiling has been carefully administered successfully, that Mohamed Atta who was stopped by the police prior to 9/11 would have been held in custody. This document should be issued to every legal population of our nation, free as in many other countries. What’s a few billion dollars when illegal aliens are stealing states blind, with a cost of over a $ hundred billion annually? An official would visibly serve the citizens to this country, to prove eligibility to vote, to drive a car, access to health care, to education and be the document for many other uses. Instead currently there is a marked increase of illegal aliens voting in state and local races. The usual group of organizations screaming voter suppression in the State of South Carolina, as they enacted a voter ID law. So Governor Nicki Haley gave every voter the opportunity to arrive at the polling station. Out of 50 million people only 23 voters took the initiative, to be driven to the voting place to vote?

    Currently states with strict voter ID laws are Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, South Carolina and Texas. Then states with less stringent voter ID laws are Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota. States with poor voter ID laws are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington. Then there 19 states with no voter Identification laws at all, that could substantially change the direction of any election from the President, down to the elected administrators of cities and counties, specific in close races. The Sanctuary State of California is overwhelmed by illegal migrants and immigrants, who are treated to all the entitlements that the poorest of Americans receive. In a Democratic run state house, the liberals seated there will never change the demands for a tougher set of regulations, so illegal aliens cannot vote and the same can be said for Senator Harry Reid’s Nevada. Blue state capitols are dead against any rules in elections, to stop either non citizen, who lean towards the left.

    Democrats have been caught with their ‘hand in the cookie jar’ so to speak, time and time again There is a terrible sense of foreboding when distasteful organizations as ACORN are concerned, or Democratic legislator run states who have conveniently ignored the need for picture ID, as simple as a states card or even a drivers license, that they are fully aware that a utility bill, internet, phone or television bill can be easily be forged or any document using a computer printer. External vulnerability is the absentee ballot, where under the law, county election officials must decide whether the signature on a request for an advance ballot matches the individual’s previous signature that could be on a voter registration form or another type of recognition. This is just asking for fraudulent returns regarding voting document.

    As an example a voter was in Andover, Minnesota resident who voted once in person using her own name and also completed a forged absentee ballot in an apparent variation of her daughter’s name. The daughter was away at college and also voted in her college precinct. Election officials detected the apparent duplicate vote and contacted the daughter who denied voting twice. Eventually, the mother was contacted and admitted that it was she who completed the absentee ballot in her daughter’s name. The woman was charged with three felonies, but was sentenced only to temporary probation and was ordered to repay the costs of her prosecution. THERE STEALING PEOPLE’S IDENTIFICATION TO GET WORK AND SO ISN’T THAT A FELONY?

    Department of Justice (DOJ) has prosecuted more non-citizen voting cases in Florida than in any other state. Florida is not exclusive as thousands of non-citizens are registered to vote in some states and tens if not hundreds of thousands in entirety may be present on the voter rolls nationwide. These numbers are major and from local elections which are often determined by only a handful of votes. Constant national elections have likely been within the margin of the number of non-citizens ille¬gally registered to vote. One Naples, Florida voter admitted she was not a U.S. Citizen, nor a legal immigrant, but election records show she voted six times in the past eleven years. Voter fraud has ricochet in the last decade and when illegal aliens admit they have voted multiple times and not sitting in prison, something is seriously wrong with our election system?

    Think about the undeniable reality that Democrats are essentially to blame, because they will not entertain any requirement for voter ID, perceptively full well that that non citizen voter could improve their chances of winning. That is why the only chance of having a fair election is through voting every potential Tea Party member candidate who will bring some resemblance of honesty back to this great nation.

    Democrats and the surrogate Liberals know they can claim millions of extra votes from non citizens, if they promise them welfare entitlements, food stamps, low income housing and other benefits. They can also introduce legislation if Obama gets a second term to shove passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, down taxpayer’s throats. THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP needs more members to SPONSOR “H.R. 2885, to be introduced as Chairman Smith’s ‘Legal Workforce Act’ instead of blocking its passage. E-Verify has become bipartisan as more Democrats are realizing that as federal law could mean placement to American workers and discharging foreign nationals. The Obama Administration has issued a statement that it is getting E-Verify ready to introduce a big development, from the DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS) in Preparing the 50-states for Mandatory E-Verify Law. Republican House leaders are definitely being held accountable, for making it law sooner.

  4. John Bunnell Reply Report comment

    April 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I’m glad to see Arizona standing up to the federal government. If all states did, I think that the feds would back down. It’s to bad that a state has to do the job that the federal government is supposed to do. I also agree with Amanda, and Bobby G.

  5. amanda Reply Report comment

    April 23, 2012 at 9:37 am

    i hope Arizona wins. and get the “shoot on site” order ehren they stick their head through the fence

    • Bobby G Reply Report comment

      April 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      I hope Iowa jumps in and gets something done. They need to make E-Verify mandatory for every employer. Obama will do anything he has to to get another vote. Even if it is Illegal.