Court Rules on Arizona Immigration Law

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona (Gage Skidmore/flickr)

The Supreme Court has finally come down with a verdict on SB 1070, the controversial immigration law that thrust Arizona into the national discussion on immigration and civil rights two years ago. The high court upheld the "show me your papers" provision, one of SB 1070's more contentious elements, which requires state law enforcement officials to check the status of anyone they stop or arrest if they believe that person might be an illegal immigrant. The justices struck down provisions requiring immigrants to have papers registered with the federal government, banning illegal immigrants from working or trying to work in public places, and allowing police to arrest people they suspect might have committed deportable crimes. 

"I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status," President Obama said in a statement following the ruling. The Court put the responsibility of investigating illegal immigration solely in the hands of the federal authorities, stripping state officials of the power to fight illegal immigration themselves.

But the split ruling has allowed both sides to wave the victory flag. Speaking to Arizona TV station KNXV about the "show me your papers" provision, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said, "I think this is a good section that's been upheld." Arpaio vows to continue his department's current practices, telling The Takeaway that the Court's ruling "sort of confirms what we've been doing anyway, so nothing's going to change, as far as my office is concerned, about enforcing state illegal immigration laws."

President of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition Dulce Matuz is an undocumented Latina and has mixed feelings about the ruling. Since the cornerstone of SB 1070 was upheld, she doesn't think much will change in her home state of Arizona.


Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Dulce Matuz

Produced by:

Joe Hernandez

Comments [3]


In 1957 President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and deployed the 101st Airbourne Division to Little Rock to ensure the peaceful enforcement of school integration. Why did this Republican President take such drastic action? Because the Democrat Governor and legislature of Arkansas refused to enforce the law for political and racial reasons.
Is the situation today in Arizona and Alabama the reverse example? Is the Obama Administration for political and racial reasons refusing to enforce the law leaving the states to to take action to protect is citizens?

Will sanctuary cities and states that do not enforce immigration law be put under pressure by the Obama administration or does this President somehow reserve the right to enforce laws he likes and not enforce laws he doesn't like? Is this the latest violation of his oath of office?

Jun. 26 2012 10:54 AM

How many times did the interview subject use the word "persecution"? Eight? Ten? Twelve?

Is there some reported case of "persecution" under SB 1070 that we haven't heard about? It would be odd, since the bill hasn't been much enforced yet.

This person, Dulce Matuz, is apperently residing in the United States illegally. I am therefore eager to closely compare John Hockenberry's warm and welcoming interview style with Ms. Matuz on the one hand, and the legal, elected public servants in Arizona and Alabama who are sworn to uphold the laws of their states and the nation.

Jun. 26 2012 09:00 AM

I grit my teeth a little bit when NPR reports on this subject. A number of scenarios and outcomes go through my head based on an Arizona cop stopping me and asking me for "papers". The mere thought that someone would question the fact that I was born and raised in the USA makes me very angry. I might actually develop a fever trying to contain myself.

Let's look at the truth behind all this. The ONLY reason an illegal immigrant would live here is to get work. Arizona's businesses are obviously taking advantage of this low-cost labor. The mentality of that state's government and citizenry is to look the other way, literally. They rather NOT enforce the current immigration laws that affect the business community there and instead CREATE rights-infringing laws against private citizens and residents.

A supporter would likely tell me not to visit the state if I don't like it's rules. But I wouldn't let anyone keep me from traveling to or through ANY part of MY country. No matter how you rationalize it, this smells of Jim Crow through and through.

Jun. 26 2012 08:52 AM

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