Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-3 mostly in favor of the federal government and struck down portions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB1070. Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney quickly released statements reacting to the ruling.
President Obama praised the Court’s decision and said Congress must come up with “comprehensive immigration reform.”
“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law,” the president said. “What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.”
Mr. Romney used the occasion to accuse the president of failing to “provide any leadership on immigration.”
“Today’s decision underscores the need for a President who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration. This represents yet another broken promise by this President,” Mr. Romney said. “I believe that each state has the duty–and the right–to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities. As Candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office. But 4 years later, we are still waiting.”
President Obama also pledged to work with Congress to help come up with an immigration reform plan.
“I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants,” said President Obama. “And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect.”
The Court struck down three provisions of SB1070 including; authorizing police to arrest immigrants without a warrant if there was “probable cause” they committed any offense for which they could be deported, making it a crime for “unauthorized immigrants” not to carry government identification and forbidding anyone not authorized to work in the country to solicit employement including by standing in a parking lot and giving a “gesture or nod” indicating their willingness to work.
Though the Court struck down these provisions of SB1070, which was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in April 2010, it upheld perhaps the most controversial part of the law, a provision allowing police officers to check someone’s immigration status while investigating other crimes as long as there is “reasonable suspicion” that person is here illegally. President Obama said he is still “concerned” about this provision of the law, which many have said could encourage racial profiling.
“I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally,” President Obama said. “No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes.”