Tuesday, July 30, 2013
As Congess repeatedly for years discussed but failed to pass immigration reform, many states entered the immigration enforcement minefield. Last week, I blogged about how the courts in one week had invalidated critical provisions of the immigration enforcement laws passed in Hazleton, Pennsylvania and Farmer's Branch, Texas as well as by the state of South Carolina. From those rulings and a series of others, it appears that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Arizona v. United States has resolved a considerable amount of uncertainty about the constitutionality of the state and local immigration enforcement laws and made it clear that federal law preempts the most aggressive of immigration enforcement provisions of these laws. In this regard, it is telling that the Supreme Court declined to review the Eleventh Circuit's decision invalidating core provisions of the Alabama immigration law, which was touted as the toughest of them all.
In addition, immigration poster child Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona was firmly rebuked for his immigration enforcement activities and found by a federal judge to have engaged in a pattern and practice of violating the civil rights of Latinos. Such a finding should not come as a surprise and is a fact known by Latinos in Arizona for many years.
One can only hope that the string of judicial setbacks will result in some serious thinking by state and local governments about passing immigration enforcement laws, which are likely to be invalidated and costly to defend.