The Supreme Court has declared three of the four parts of the Arizona immigration law unconstitutional, but the court upheld the provision that police officers can determine the immigration status of anyone lawfully stopped.
The Supreme Court threw out most of the law, but they upheld the most controversial part. However, overall the court upheld the federal power to make immigration policy, “The federal power to determine immigration policy is well settled. Immigration policy can affect trade, investment, tourism, and diplomatic relations for the entire Nation, as well as the perceptions and expectations of aliens in this country who seek the full protection of its laws.”
The court destroyed the Republican argument that states have the right to make their own separate immigration policies, “The National Government has significant power to regulate immigration. With power comes responsibility, and the sound exercise of national power over immigration depends on the Nation’s meeting its responsibility to base its laws on a political will informed by searching, thoughtful, rational civic discourse. Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”
The stop and check provision that was left standing is going to be subject to years of further litigation. This ruling sends a strong message to states that this anti-immigrant legislative arms race between the states can’t contradict federal law.
The Supreme Court narrowed the papers please provision, and left the door open to future challenges based on the implementation of the law, “This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect.”
In simple political terms, this is a win for the Obama administration and the federal government. This is a horrible day for Mitt Romney, who now finds himself campaigning on what has been ruled an unconstitutional and anti-federalist stance on immigration.
This is a bad day for the anti-immigrant right who are advocating the round them up and deport them all policy. On the campaign trail, this is a good day for Obama and a lousy day for Romney. The Supreme Court agreed with Obama’s view that the federal government is in charge of immigration policy.
The court struck down Romney’s idea that Arizona’s law was the model for immigration policy around the country. This ruling also just so happened to keep alive the one part of the Arizona law that is certain to mobilize Latino voters. This decision was one of the worst possible outcomes for Republicans and especially, Mitt Romney.