In particular, the Justices expressed skepticism over the Obama Administration's argument that its enforcement priorities preempt SB 1070. For example, Justice Antonin Scalia asked U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who was arguing the case for the DOJ, whether he knew of any cases in which the basis of preemption is the "Attorney General's enforcement discretion" and called such "an extraordinary basis for saying that the state is preempted."(See Oral Argument Transcript, pp. 58-59, Apr. 25, 2012) When Solicitor General Verrilli responded that Arizona's criminalization of a failure to comply with federal registration laws was what's "extraordinary," Justice Scalia replied that such is already a crime under federal law and that Arizona was not doing anything beyond what the law already requires. (Id.; see also 8 U.S.C. §§ 1304, 1306)
Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Obama, stated that the Administration's arguments were "not selling well." (Transcriptat p. 55) Asking for Solicitor General Verrilli to offer another argument, she asserted, "Frankly…it's not that [SB 1070 is] forcing you to change your enforcement priorities. You don't have to take the person into custody. So what's left or your argument?" (Id.)
The Court also appeared to dismiss Solicitor General Verrilli's argument that federal law preempts SB 1070 because it would interfere with the national government's ability to forge and maintain relationships with other countries. In response to this argument, Justice Kennedy responded, "So you're saying the [federal] government has a legitimate interest in not enforcing its laws?" (Transcript at p. 63) A few moments later, Scalia incredulously asked the Solicitor General, "So we have to enforce our laws in a manner that will please Mexico?" (Id. at 69)
Finally, the Justices questioned the Administration's desire to enforce U.S. immigration law. Mid-hearing, Chief Justice John Roberts commented to Solicitor General Verrilli, "It seems to me that the federal government just doesn't want to know who is here illegally or not." (Id. at 49-50)
At issue before the Supreme Court were four sections of SB 1070:
- Section 2: Requires state and local law enforcement officers, during a lawful stop, arrest or detention, to inquire about immigration status if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe the individual is an illegal alien.
- Section 3: Provides that it is a violation of state law for an illegal alien to be in violation of the federal alien registration statutes.
- Section 5: Creates a misdemeanor offense that prohibits illegal aliens from applying for work, soliciting work in public places, or performing work in Arizona.
- Section 6: Authorizes state and local police officers to conduct a warrantless arrest of an individual if the officer has probable cause to believe the person has committed a removable offense.
Although Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case, five Justices must still decide in favor of the legislation, or certain provisions of it, for them to take effect. A four-four split would result in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' injunction being upheld. The Court is expected to issue its opinion in June.
White House loosens border rules for 2012 elections
The Daily Caller
06/20/2011 | Updated: 7:31 PM 06/20/2011
President Barack Obama’s administration is quietly offering a quasi-amnesty for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants aiming to win reelection by mobilizing a wave of new Hispanic voters without alienating the populous at large, say supporters of stronger immigration law enforcement.
The new rules were quietly announced Friday with a new memo from top officials at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The “prosecutorial discretion” memo says officials need not enforce immigration laws if illegal immigrants are enrolled in an education center or if their relatives have volunteered for the US military.
“They’re pushing the [immigration] agents to be even more lax, to go further in not enforcing the law,” said Kris Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state. “At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed and looking for work, this is more bad news coming from the Obama administration… [if the administration] really cared about putting Americans back to work, it would be vigorously enforcing the law,” he said.
“We think it is an excellent step,” said Laura Vasquez, at the Hispanic-advocacy group, La Raza, which pushed for the policies, and which is working with other groups to register Hispanics to vote in 2012. “What’s very important is how the prosecutorial discretion memo is implemented” on the streets, she said.
The Hispanic vote could be crucial in the 2012 election, because the Obama campaign hopes to offset its declining poll ratings by registering new Hispanic voters in crucial swing states, such as Virginia and North Carolina.
To boost the Hispanic vote, the administration has enlisted support from Hispanic media figures, appointed an experienced Hispanic political operative to run the political side of the Obama reelection campaign, and has maintained close ties to Hispanic advocacy groups, including La Raza. For example, La Raza’s former senior vice president and lobbyist, Cecilia Munoz, was hired by the Obama administration as director of intergovernmental affairs in 2009.
On Friday, officials at ICE announced several new administrative changes to immigration enforcement.
The primary document was the six-page “prosecutorial discretion” memo, which provided new reasons for officials to not deport illegal immigrants.
Illegal Alien Activists: Changes to deportation program not enough
BY CINDY CARCAMO
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Immigration officials addressed criticism of a federal deportation program by making changes that would protect crime victims and witnesses, but immigrant rights activists say the efforts are "cosmetic" and contend the whole program should be dismantled.
Secure Communities is a federal program that allows local enforcement agencies to tap into federal data of people they arrest to check for immigration violations. The program is part of a national effort to identify and deport people who are in the country illegally and suspected of or convicted for committing crimes.
The program launched in Orange County on March 16 of last year. From the program's inception through April 30, more than 77,000 immigrants convicted of crimes, including more than 28,000 convicted of aggravated felony offenses like murder, rape and the sexual abuse of children, were removed from the United States after they were identified through the program, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
Read more about the program's local launch.
Secure Communities has come under fire in recent months, with some state officials trying to opt out of it, according to stateline.org and other news reports. Governors from New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts want to end their participation on the grounds that very few of the people being deported have been convicted of serious criminal offenses.
Activists say they're concerned that the program silences victims and witnesses who have become reluctant to report crimes because they're afraid of deportation.
Immigration officials on Friday announced more protections for crime victims and witnesses after the complaints that the program did not distinguish enough between minor offenders and serious criminals, according to news reports.
Some of the changes include new guidelines, which give prosecutors more discretion on who they decide to detain and deport. Other guidelines include additional law enforcement training and instructing officers not to deport people who are crime victims or witnesses in criminal cases.
"Secure Communities is a critical tool for law enforcement agencies working to protect the citizens and communities they serve," said ICE Director John Morton in a written statement released Friday. "However, we need to do a better job of ensuring that the program is more focused on targeting those that pose the biggest risk to communities..."
Immigration organizations called the changes insulting.
"With the utter invisibility of any comprehensive immigration reform on the horizon, mere tweaks to the deportation machine are worse than insufficient, they are insulting,'' said Angelica Salas, executive director of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. "It is time to flip the switch, turn out the lights on S-Comm and await the outcome of DHS' own Inspector-General's investigation into the genesis and mutation of this misguided monster.''
ICE is instituting additional training to ensure that law enforcement officers understand the goals and priorities of the program.
Read more about the changes in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News and Sacramento Bee.
LA RAZA HILLARY CLINTON - PUSHING FOR AMNESTY, OPEN BORDERS, DRIVER’S LICENSE TO ILLEGALS AND LA RAZA SUPREMACY