Immigration and Citizenship

SB 1070: Reactions in Arizona from community leaders

The Republic


Reactions from leaders in business, politics, education and civic organizations to Monday’s Supreme Court decision on SB 1070.


“While we still want to fully review the Supreme Court’s decision, today’s ruling appears to validate a key component of Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070. The Arizona law was born out of the state’s frustration with the burdens that illegal immigration and continued drug smuggling impose on its schools, hospitals, criminal justice system and fragile desert environment, and an administration that chooses to set enforcement policies based on a political agenda, not the laws as written by Congress. We will continue our efforts on behalf of the citizens of Arizona to secure our southern border. We believe Arizonans are better served when state and federal officials work as partners to protect our citizens rather than as litigants in a courtroom.” — U.S. Sens Jon Kyl and John McCain of Arizona


“Today’s Supreme Court decision that much of SB 1070 is unconstitutional is a stark reminder of the need for Congress to act immediately on comprehensive immigration reform. It also reminds us that our State Legislature should stop focusing on divisive issues and instead spend their time on job creation and smart economic development for the State of Arizona.” — Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton



“SB 1070 has proved to be one of the most polarizing pieces of legislation in Arizona’s history. It was a political opportunists dream. That said, it has also proved to be totally unproductive. Millions of dollars and jobs are flowing into Texas from Mexico as Texas has established a clear immigration policy, all while expanding their economic relationship with Mexico. Nationally, the GOP continues to beat the enforcement only drum and continues to oppose a temporary worker program. SB 1070 was great for politicians, but will do nothing to address the serious issue of illegal immigration.” — Paula Pennypacker, Arizona Politics blogger


“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law. 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.


At the same time, 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. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. 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. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.


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. 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. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.” — President Barack Obama


“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. 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.” — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney


“The long anticipated Supreme Court decision on SB1070 gives detractors and supporters of the Arizona law something to celebrate as well as reason to lament. With three of the key sections no longer points of contention, the surviving ‘show me your papers’ provision will continue to keep Arizona amidst a barrage of controversy as states such as South Carolina, Alabama, Rhode Island and other copycat states begin to reconsider decisions to implement immigration laws similar to those if Arizona.


“What remains needed, irrespective of this historic 5-3 decision, is a comprehensive immigration reform bill; a bill highly unlikely to materialize this election year.” — Ahmad Daniels, Plugged In contributor to The Republic


“With three of the four contested provisions deep-sixed by the Supreme Court, we in Arizona are left with the one provision certain to have us in court again all too soon — the Justices upheld the requirement that police check immigration status of folks the police stop or arrest. Which means? Here come the racial profiling lawsuits. Meanwhile, will the Court’s split decision relaunch Russell Pearce’s moribund political career? Not in Mesa. The voters there seem weary of his antics and tirades and political associations. So Pearce might have a national career as an immigration extremist, but his future here in Arizona is limited to obscure later-night radio shows on even more obscure radio stations listened to by only his band of true believers.” — Mike McClellan, Arizona Politics blogger


“Hey AZ Politicians shut the hell up till you get all info. So far both sides sound like they have not read it” – State Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, via Twitter (@RubenGallego)


“While we are grateful for this legal victory, today is an opportunity to reflect on our journey and focus upon the true task ahead: the implementation and enforcement of this law in an even-handed manner that lives up to our highest ideals as American citizens.” — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer


“The Supreme Court decision today is a 75 percent win … Our fight against SB1070 has not yet ended. We can’t be satisfied with today’s ruling, we can’t be satisfied until family separation ends, we can’t be satisfied until the persecution of hard-working Americans without papers ends.


“Latinos shouldn’t be judged by immigration legal status but by the content of their character. As Arizonans slowly recuperate from the negative financial impact and anti-immigrant image, let citizens stand firm to never allow them to experience this due to poor political legislation again. My call to action today is for you to have faith, to get involved, and by not complying, such as our great Civil Rights Leaders demonstrated in the past, like one being Rosa Parks. We must stand up and fight back by learning our individual rights regardless of immigration status. SB1070 will go down in history as the greatest demonstration of xenophobia. Which side of history do you stand on?” — Dulce Matuz, chair of Arizona Dream Act Coalition and one of TIME magazine’s most influential people in the world


“The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s SB1070 law provides a healthy heaping of hope that our nation’s public policy on immigration may one day be removed from the overwrought political-football arena and instead played out in civil debate, compromise and eventual consensus in Congress. Under the high court ruling, federal jurisdiction is upheld on immigration matters but law enforcement officers are permitted to help identify actual criminals for possible deportation – with justices emphasizing that criminals are not those who are simply here without documentation and are otherwise good citizens looking for honest work and a better life. The ball is back in Congress’ court, with the name of the game called comprehensive immigration reform.” — Joseph Garcia, analyst of Latino public policy, Morrison Institute for Public Policy


“Regardless of legislative intent, passing SB1070 did no more than expand the state’s polarization plus giving Arizona’s redneck image a new national glow. ‘Show me the papers’, is and always has been proper procedure for law officials requesting driver’s license or any other form of ID when making a stop for legit cause. When police make an arrest, apprehending suspicious suspects, or even routine check-stops for any reason, discretionary judgment should be the officer’s upper most intent. The suspect’s foreign appearing characteristics — profiling — should not be the primary purpose for the stop.” — Bob Amento, Plugged In contributor to The Republic, a resident of Scottsdale


“It’s all about votes. Speculation about the supreme court 1070 decision focused on how the decision will affect elections. Little attention about how the decision will affect the lives of immigrants… Immigrants are people who have become political pawns So who are the political winners? Ex-Senator Russell Pearce and his buddy Sheriff Arpaio. They have won the battle to treat people or color as second-class citizens By their action, the Supreme Court has OK’d the AZ “show me your papers” legislation that really amounts to racial profiling. It is a sad day for Arizona.” — Mickey Greenberg, retired weekly newspaper editor


“The Supreme Court has sent two messages today: that states cannot pass policies that undermine federal law and that Congress must act on comprehensive reform in order to address this issue and avoid these kinds of legal conflicts. We cannot begin to honestly solve the issue of illegal immigration until those in Congress are willing to have meaningful discussions on comprehensive reform.


“Recently, the President took action because of the failure of Congress to act. Predictably, the knee-jerk reaction of extremists like Jan Brewer and her Tea Party Republicans was to trash good policy in favor of their worn-out politics of the past. This is exactly the type of politics that is taking Arizona backwards.


“It’s time for Arizona to turn to a new chapter, to leave behind the extreme and divisive politics that have dominated this state. It’s time to work together to create jobs and improve education, things that Governor Brewer and her Tea Party Republicans in the Legislature have failed to do.” — state Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira


“A Supreme Court ruling tells us whether all or part of a law meets Constitutional requirements. It does not tell us if a law is good or bad — or what its consequences will be. It does not tell us if we should have done something, only if we can. Those honest, intellectual debates are supposed to happen in the various state legislatures – but in Arizona, they really don’t. We’re allowed to do a lot of things we shouldn’t — and in Arizona, we very often do. 1070 was designed to elect politicians, not to solve the problems it pretends to solve. Ours is one “laboratory of democracy” that could use all new Bunsen burners.” — Scott Phelps, former spokesman for former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon


“Today’s decision is a near-complete vindication of the federal government’s authority to establish uniform rules that guide immigration policy in this country. While Justice Kennedy soberly explained why the law prohibited Arizona’s effort to take immigration law into its own hands, Justice Scalia responded with a political diatribe better suited for Fox News than the Supreme Court.” — Doug Kendall, president of Constitutional Accountability Center


“Today’s opinion leaves communities in Arizona in jeopardy by reinstating the “show me your papers” provision for now. In leaving the serious constitutional problems to be resolved in future litigation, the Court fails to recognize how Arizona’s law will damage our constitutional rights as soon as it goes into effect. But the Court also delivered a sharp rebuke to Arizona by striking down three out of four provisions. Today’s decision is not the end of the story. We will ultimately win this battle in the courts and in the arena of public opinion, because there is nothing good about these laws – they’re discriminatory, they waste taxpayer money, and they wreck our economy.” — Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project


“The Court correctly held that federal immigration law trumps most of Arizona’s controversial immigration law. But by upholding Arizona’s ‘check your papers’ provision, at least for now, the Court has given other states a green light to try to enact similar immigration laws. Some will be anti-immigrant, like Arizona’s. But other new state laws may be pro-immigrant, as states realize the importance of immigrants in their communities.


“The decision increases pressure on Congress to enact comprehensive immigration law to prevent a crazy patchwork of conflicting immigration laws around the country.” — Stephen Yale-Loehr, Cornell law professor and immigration scholar


“I am heartened that the Supreme Court affirmed the heart of SB 1070, Section 2(B).


“The federal government has failed my state with its inability to properly enforce immigration law. Now Arizona, with the core of SB 1070, can implement what Washington has failed to do so many times.


“This is a victory for Arizona and our state’s right to defend our citizens and protect our borders.” — Arizona Republican Congressman David Schweikert


“I find it unfortunate that the Supreme Court struck down some provisions of S.B. 1070. The federal government has failed spectacularly in its duty to enforce immigration laws, and Arizona’s law simply sought to fill the enforcement void left by this failure. I’m glad to see the court uphold the central part of this law however.


“Under this ruling, police will have the opportunity to check the legal status of individuals in the course of enforcing other laws. This is a major victory in Arizona’s efforts to give law enforcement new tools to enforce the law where the Obama Administration will not. Until we obtain operational control of our southern border and fully enforce current laws, we can’t have a credible, substantive conversation on immigration reform. By enhancing the enforcement of our immigration laws, this ruling puts us on that path.” — Arizona Republican Congressman Ben Quayle


“For those of us who are arguing on behalf of sensible immigration reform, it doesn’t make any sense for states to get involved because it’s clearly pre-empted by federal law.” — Todd Landfried, Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform


“The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down most of SB1070’s critical parts is somewhat understandable to reinforce the separation of State and Federal responsibilities. Unfortunately, this administration has chosen to disregard its responsibilities and in fact flaunt its practice to do so. Without the ability to deter employers from hiring illegal aliens, any realistic endeavor to cause the removal of 12 million interlopers is doubtful. Armed with such success, a second-term Obama will likely increase his effort to remake America in his vision, bypassing legislation through executive order. He has cleverly laid the groundwork to avoid any chance of congressional interference.” — Ron Pinkowski, Plugged In contributor to The Republic and resident of Gold Canyon


“Today’s court decision leaves open the essential question of how we make sure that all Americans enjoy the protections against discriminatory treatment that are guaranteed by our Constitution and it also still fails to offer any remedy for securing our border.


“My priorities in Congress are to improve border security and fix our immigration system. One step we can take immediately is to pass the DREAM Act – a bipartisan measure that would help our economy and not unfairly penalize those who have served in our country’s military or received an education without breaking our nation’s laws.” — Arizona Democratic Congressman Ron Barber


“Though making an effort to limit the opportunities for racial profiling, the Supreme Court still upheld one of S.B. 1070’s central and most offensive provisions, the requirement that law enforcement officers demand proof of legal status from anyone they suspect is undocumented. This ‘papers please’ provision will directly lead to racial and ethnic profiling based on the way people look or the way they speak, regardless of whether they have been American citizens all of their lives.


“Still, today’s ruling was narrow in that the Court only concluded that federal law did not pre-empt states from enacting these “papers please” laws. Lawsuits challenging the provision on racial profiling grounds will continue to be litigated and we are confident that the measure will ultimately be struck down. Unfortunately, the Court’s ruling today means that while we await that future decision, the fundamental rights of Americans living in those states will be degraded.” — Angela Maria Kelley, vice president for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund


“The Supreme Court was right to strike down the vast majority of the Arizona law. With three out of the four provisions being struck down, the ruling shows that the Obama administration was right to challenge this law, which was not just ill-advised but also unconstitutional.


“I am greatly concerned that the provision putting American citizens in danger of being detained by police unless they carry their immigration papers at all times will lead to a system of racial profiling. This is a strong reminder that ultimately, the responsibility for fixing our nation’s broken immigration system lies with Congress …” — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.


“So that means I can dress like Ben Miranda today and avoid being asked questions about legal status. If I’m undocumented right now, all I have to do is dress like this, appear like this and, of course, learn some of the lingo to avoid the law.” — former state Rep. Ben Miranda, a Democrat


“I think the Supreme Court tried to narrow that impact but for us it still puts a bull’s eye on the backs of many Latinos in this country.” — Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, said on CNN


“The ruling that key provisions of SB 1070 are unconstitutional shows that this kind of legislation is not effective. It only serves to divide communities and heighten partisan bickering. It gives politicians an excuse to grandstand instead of developing substantive policy reform. Additionally, it distracts from efforts to create jobs and improve educational opportunities. This is especially concerning during a time when the economy in Arizona is struggling to recover.


There must be long-term, sensible immigration solutions that are created through collaboration between those on both sides of the political aisle. These reforms must provide law enforcement with the tools they need to do their jobs. Laws like SB 1070 burden our officers with unrealistic and unfair expectations.


In short, SB 1070 was the wrong answer to an issue that requires real solutions.” — state Rep. Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson


“The Supreme Court’s decision today regarding SB 1070 is a mixed bag at best,” said Flake. “But one thing is certain: with its efforts suing Arizona, the Obama Administration has focused time and resources that could have been better spent securing the border.” — Arizona Republican Congressman Jeff Flake


“I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that state laws cannot dictate the federal government’s immigration enforcement policies or priorities. DHS remains focused on enhancing public safety and the integrity of our border by prioritizing enforcement resources on those who are in the country unlawfully and committing crimes, those who have repeatedly violated our immigration laws, and those who recently crossed our borders illegally.


“The Court’s decision not to strike down Section Two at this time will make DHS’ work more challenging. Accordingly, DHS will implement operational enhancements to its programs in Arizona to ensure that the agency can remain focused on its priorities …Finally, it is important to note that today’s Supreme Court decision will not impact the memorandum I issued on June 15th related to prosecutorial discretion eligibility for productive members of society who were brought to the United States as children.” — Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Homeland Security Department and former Arizona governor


“As Arizona has been at the forefront of combating illegal immigration and other border crime, we have always hoped to have a willing law enforcement partner in the federal government. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has chosen to selectively enforce the law and aggressively subvert the state of Arizona as we strove to fill the enforcement gaps.


“It is unfortunate the Obama Administration is not interested in enforcing the law and attempted, through Attorney General Holder, to prevent SB 1070 from being implemented. SB 1070 would not have been necessary had the administration been willing to support Arizona with appropriate enforcement strategies.” — Arizona Speaker of the House Andy Tobin, a Republican


“Today’s Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. United States provides yet another reason why Congress should quickly pass comprehensive immigration reform. It demonstrates that we cannot fix our broken immigration system on a state-by-state basis.


“The U.S. Conference of Mayors is pleased that the Court struck down three troubling provisions in the Arizona law. We are concerned, however, that the Supreme Court upheld the so-called”papers please’ provision, which will have far-reaching consequences for cities. It will compromise the ability of our local police departments to maintain public safety and jeopardize the relationship, which they have carefully built with immigrant communities. It will require police officers to spend more time and resources investigating immigration status, leaving them less time and fewer resources to investigate serious crimes. The challenge for mayors and their police departments is to minimize harm and assure immigrant communities that they will not engage in racial or ethnic profiling.


“In its decision the Court opened the door on a future challenge to this provision after it takes effect, and we hope that will occur with all due speed.” — Michael A. Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia and president of U.S. Conference of Mayors


“Many business leaders, community leaders, and religious leaders in our State have indicated from the beginning that SB1070 is not good for our State and not good law in that the federal government not the State holds responsibility to pass and uphold immigration policy.


“The Supreme Court decision substantially upheld that viewpoint by invalidating three of four challenged provisions of SB 1070. The Supreme Court did however uphold, at least for the time being, the provision which permits state law enforcement personnel to determine the immigration status of any person stopped, detained, or arrested if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is not lawfully in the United States, and to verify the immigration status of any person arrested before releasing that person.


“We believe that this provision of the law will not enhance security, benefit the economy of our State, or foster its well-being. Rather this provision might separate families, create the possibility of racial profiling even if unintended by the law, heighten fear in the immigrant community, jeopardize community policing, and not fix the federal immigration policy which many across the political spectrum have said is broken.


“The bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference, along with many others, are convinced that immigration policy is the responsibility of the federal government assuring that there is no great discrepancy throughout the nation on how immigrants are treated.


“The Arizona bishops will continue to work with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in

advocating for comprehensive immigration policy reform that will address needed border security to protect our nation from drug and human trafficking, provide legal avenues for workers to assist employers in our country, and to resolve the legal status of nearly 12 million law abiding people who now live in the shadows.” — Arizona Catholic bishops’ joint statement.


“This strong decision goes a long way towards preventing abusive state-led immigration enforcement. Though the Court did not invalidate the “show-me-your-papers” provision, Latino and other Arizonans should not fear implementation of the law, because the Court has strictly limited how it may be applied. Additional legal challenges to SB 1070 also remain to be resolved by Arizona courts. The Supreme Court was not asked to determine whether SB 1070 violates constitutional prohibitions of discrimination based on race and ethnicity, and of unjustified searches and arrests. Following this decision, legal challenges to this and similar laws in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah will continue to move forward.


“The future strength and wealth of our nation depend upon our ability to successfully integrate new Americans into our social and economic systems, and to empower all Americans to be active participants in civic affairs. Laws like SB 1070 set us back by destroying the trust between everyday people and public officials. The Supreme Court wisely recognized today that states do not have constitutional authority to create policies that divide our communities solely on the basis of immigration status.” — National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, representing more than 6,000 elected officials across the United States


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