TUCSON 7/11/2012 12:37:33 AM
News / Law

Arizona Immigration Law Approval

Court OKs part of Arizona alien law, so Obama intervenes

When America’s high court gave partial thumbs up to Arizona’s immigration law, supporters of the state law were disappointed that the Supreme Court justices didn’t deliver a more sweeping endorsement of the state statute. That disappointment turned into anger when a few hours later the White House took away Arizona’s working agreement with the federal government in processing of immigrants determined to be in the country illegally.





“President Obama demonstrated anew his utter disregard for the safety and security of the Arizona people,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said after revocation of the agreement was announced. “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. The Obama administration has fought the people of Arizona at every turn… Still, the disarmament of Arizona’s 287(g) agreement is a new low, even for this administration.”



The section of the Arizona immigration law that the court approved lets law enforcement officers check the legal status of people they stop for other violations of the law. The law is a compromise, taking away the ability of an officer to stop a citizen on suspicion of illegal immigration status alone; that act lends itself to widespread racial profiling. But once a person is stopped for, say, a traffic violation, the follow-up investigation about legal status is allowed.





However, the federal government’s subsequent refusal to cooperate with local authorities, as conveyed in the administration’s revocation of the working agreement, effectively guts the law. It means that local officials won’t be able to transfer an illegal immigrant to the custody of federal authorities because they have no means of forcing the federal officials to take the alien. The working law enforcement partnership thus becomes null and void.



Arizona’s 287(g) agreement was the only one revoked by the White House. The agreement remains in force in 23 other states, which explains why Arizona officials feel they are being picked on. The 287(g) agreement has resulted in 300,000 aliens in the U.S. being identified over six years, according to U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials, who describe the agreement as a “force multiplier.” In Arizona, the multiplier just got subtracted from the arsenal of border security measures, and local authorities are not happy about it.