Justice Antonin Scalia took President Barack Obama to task in a scathing 22-page dissent to Monday’s Supreme Court decision striking down the majority of Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law, calling Obama’s failure to enforce parts of the Immigration Act “mind boggling.”
“The president said at a news conference that the new program is ‘the right thing to do’ in light of Congress’s failure to pass the administration’s proposed revision of the Immigration Act,” Scalia wrote in his dissent. “Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the Immigration Act that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind.”
The Reagan appointee went on to write:
“Arizona bears the brunt of the country's illegal immigration problem. Its citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy. Federal officials have been unable to remedy the problem, and indeed have recently shown that they are unwilling to do so. Thousands of Arizona's estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants—including not just children but men and women under 30—are now assured immunity from enforcement, and will be able to compete openly with Arizona citizens for employment.”
Scalia called Obama’s immigration enforcement policy “lax,” alleging that the federal government does not want to enforce immigration laws, which could leave the States “helpless before those evil effects of illegal immigration.”
Scalia argued that the entire Arizona immigration law should have been upheld because the state is “entitled” to craft its own immigration policy.
The majority of the justices ruled Monday that Arizona’s law is unconstitutional with the exception of the provision that allows police officers to ask about an individual’s immigration status if they are pulled over during a traffic stop.
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