Today the Supreme Court struck down many of the provisions in Arizona’s illegal immigration legislation, SB 1070 (Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act), but allowed perhaps the most controversial aspect to stand—one that permits law enforcement to detain and ask for papers from individuals they reasonably believe to be immigrants.
SB 1070′s critics have argued that the provision essentially amounts to legalized racial profiling (although this wasn’t the legal argument made by the Obama administration). Everyone understands the desire to control illegal immigration—individuals should become legal and pay taxes before being allowed to work in America. However, the power to stop an individual, who would invariably be Latin American (because of Arizona’s proximity to its southern neighbor Mexico), and ask for their papers based purely on appearances is a rabbit hole that America should not tumble down.
President Obama was not pleased with the Court’s decision on the provision in question.
“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,” Obama said. “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.”
This is the crux of the dilemma: How can Arizona enforce this law without undermining the civil rights of Americans? It may be effective in removing some illegal immigrants from Arizona, but it will also inevitably cause a sizable number of legal Americans of Latin American ethnicity to be detained and treated like criminals.
Justice Antonin Scalia was characteristically political. “After this case was argued and while it was under consideration,” he said, “the secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immigration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants.”
“The president has said that the new program is ‘the right thing to do’ in light of Congress’s failure to pass the administration’s proposed revision of the immigration laws,” Justice Scalia went on. “Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of federal immigration law that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind.”
Arizona is the retentive anus of America and the Supreme Court just became their federal enabler.