(Phoenix, AZ)—Arizona is now months away from enforcing its new immigration law SB 1070 – that is, if the federal government permits its enforcement at all.
Governor Jan Brewer requested that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals expedite a review of U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton's decision to temporarily block five sections of SB 1070 which took effect on Thursday. Gov. Brewer is asking the court to consider “whether the district court relied on an erroneous legal premise or abused its discretion.”
If accepted, Gov. Brewer's request could have moved the review date ahead to September. However, the court denied the request without citing a reason. The review is set for November at the earliest, and the case is then expected to go to the Supreme Court.
The Arizona Daily Star website says that Judge Bolton blocked the state from enforcing laws that:
• Require police who have stopped someone for any other reason to verify their legal presence in this country if there is 'reasonable suspicion' they are illegal immigrants.
• Require police to check immigration status before releasing someone who has been arrested.
• Allow officers to make arrests without a warrant of foreign nationals, legal or otherwise, who commit offenses that make them "removable" from this country under federal law.
• Make it a violation of state law for foreigners to fail to carry proof that they have a legal right to be in the United States.
• Effectively make being an illegal immigrant a state crime.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has not let the judge's decision hamper his law enforcement efforts. His officers conducted a crime and immigration sweep on Thursday and Friday. The operation resulted in 36 arrests for traffic violations. Six of those arrested were suspected illegal immigrants, whom Arpaio's office turned over to immigration officials for deportation.
Based on SB 1070's constitutionality and legal precedent, Arizona appears to have a solid case.
“The Arizona law is completely consistent with federal law,” writes former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy McCarthy at National Review Online. “The judge, however, twisted to [sic] concept of federal law into federal enforcement practices (or, as it happens, lack thereof). In effect, the court is saying that if the feds refuse to enforce the law the states can’t do it either because doing so would transgress the federal policy of non-enforcement … which is nuts.”
In fact, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals previously held in Lynch v. Cannatella (1987) that “No statute precludes other federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies from taking other action to enforce this nation’s immigration laws.”
(By Chris Carter/Aug. 2, 2010)