Arizona Law Backers Undaunted by 'Temporary Setback'

Thursday, 29 Jul 2010 11:35 AM

By David A. Patten

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Anti-illegal immigration activists are dismissing the importance of Wednesday's court injunction that prevent key elements of Arizona's controversial immigration law from taking effect, calling it a "temporary setback."

The supporters of the law also promise the ruling by District Court Judge Susan Bolton won't stop them from taking the fight against illegal immigration all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"This is a temporary setback," Arizona State Rep. Jack Kavanagh, who co-sponsored and helped write the law, tells Newsmax. "By no means have we lost the war, or much less a battle. We're committed to defending this law all the way to U.S. Supreme Court if we have to, because this is about the safety of Arizona residents."

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who has clashed with President Obama on the state's plan to require enforcement of federal immigration laws, told the media: "I will battle all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary, for the right to protect the citizens of Arizona. Meanwhile, I also know we still have work to do in confronting the fear-mongers, those dealing in hate and lies and economic boycotts that seek to do Arizona harm."

Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies, tells Newsmax that he is also disappointed with the judge's ruling. But he adds he is "neither discouraged nor dismayed" by it.

"I just kind of assumed [the injunction] was going to happen, because there are six law suits now altogether," Krikorian says. "What the judge did was suspend the law, most of it, until the full cases could be heard. So I'm not saying it’s a good thing, but it doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Everybody sort of expected that this is going to be a long process, and it is going to take a number of years and almost certainly will end up before the Supreme Court."

District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued her ruling on the Justice Department's request for an injunction to block the law, which required law officers to determine residency status and arrest people residing in Arizona illegally, at shortly after 1 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday.

The reaction of Fox news host and senior legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano: "The guts of the statute have been removed, and cannot be enforced in Arizona tomorrow," he declared.

The ruling blocks implementation of key provisions at the heart of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 legislation. Among them:
  • Arizona will not be permitted to order police officers make a reasonable effort to determine the residency of someone who is arrested, if there is reason to suspect they may be in the country illegally.
  • It cannot require that suspected illegals verify their immigration status before they are released.
  • Arizona cannot make the failure to carry residency documentation papers a crime.
  • It cannot make efforts by illegal aliens to find employment a crime.
  • Arizona police officers cannot arrest someone without a warrant, based on the suspicion they have committed a public offense that could lead to their removal from the United States. Although the ruling was hailed as a victory for the Obama administration, the judge did allow implementation of some portions of the law.
  • The provisions that will be implemented include: Citizens can now sue any state official, or agency, who blocks full enforcement of federal immigration laws will take effect.
  • It establishes a criminal offense for stopping a motor vehicle in a way that blocks traffic in order to pick up day laborers, and also outlaws day laborers getting into a vehicle that is blocking traffic.
  • It allows the creation of a gang and immigration intelligence team "enforcement mission fund."
  • Any vehicle used in the transporting or harboring of illegal aliens can be removed or impounded.
  • It becomes a crime to transport an "unlawfully present alien," or to "encourage or induce an unlawfully present alien to come to or live in Arizona."
All rulings by the judge could be overturned once the full case goes to trial, which could come by December according to some analysts.

"Politically I think it's a very significant and important win [for President Obama]," said Democratic strategist Richard Socarides told Fox News.

Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law, concurred. He tells Newsmax the ruling is "a huge victory for the opponents of SB 1070, and that includes the Obama administration."

Chemerinsky is among those staunchly opposed to SB 1070. Opponents worry it could lead to racial profiling and discrimination against undocumented workers.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying the decision “correctly affirms the federal government’s responsibilities in enforcing our nation's immigration laws. Over the past 18 months, this administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border, and we will continue to work to take decisive action to disrupt criminal organizations and the networks they exploit.

"DHS will enforce federal immigration laws in Arizona and around the country in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor, as well as continue to secure our border," it stated.
Those who supported the law downplayed the significance of the temporary injunction.

"It's a small win [for the Obama administration]," Krikorian says. "It's a small win because they're able to point to the ruling when talking to their own leftist base, and show that they're doing something."

He adds that open-borders advocates are frustrated with the Obama administration because the administration hasn't managed to "gut everything" in enforcement.

"The activist groups want them to stop enforcing immigration laws altogether," Krikorian says. "They can't do that, and this ruling helps the administration say, 'Look, we're still with you, we're still on your side' to the open-borders groups, showing that they are effective and they are fighting attempts at enforcement."

Kavanagh expressed disappointment with the judge's ruling, but characterized it as a small setback.

"It's also my understanding that the judge's concern with the questioning with the reasonable suspicion part of the law was that it would overload [the federal] immigration system. Well, would she bar arrests because jails and prisons were overcrowded? That just makes no sense to me, and it's troubling. But in the end we're going to win, because we're going to take this all the way to the Supreme Court."

Kavanagh also predicted the sections of the bill unaffected by the judge's ruling will still bolster enforcement against illegal immigration.

Because the judge's ruling is preliminary to the actual trial on the Arizona law, the process to have the ruling overturned is complicated.

According to Napolitano, the state first will have to file an application with Judge Bolton asking her to reconsider her decision. Assuming that request is denied, the next step would be to ask the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco for permission to file an appeal and hear the case. The 9th Circuit is widely known as the most liberal in the country.

Appeals courts tend to be reluctant about hearing appeals on orders in a case that hasn't actually gone to trial yet. But despite the hurdles, Napolitano says "It could happen in a couple of weeks."

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