The Supreme Court on Monday struck down three provisions in Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants. The decision ultimately gives the federal government the exclusive power to set immigration policy.
“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,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.
Arizona police offers will still be allowed to ask people to “show me your papers” during arrests or traffic stops if the have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an illegal immigrant. However, parts of the Arizona law that would have given state police more authority to arrest people for immigration violations was invalidated.
"By striking down the major provisions of SB 1070, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the values that make this nation great and in essence initiated the process of establishing a legal firewall against draconian measures as it pertains to immigration,” Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
As Rodriguez sees it, the question at hand is whether the state has the right to violate the civil and human rights of individuals under the guise of "the rule of law." Arizona's measure and other attempts to usurp fundamental human rights required our highest court to intervene, he says.
“Although a provision regarding proof of citizenship still stands in question, the court's decision conveys a clear message that 21st century jurisprudence will not tolerate measures that polarize and segregate our communities,” Rodriguez says.
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, says Arizona took action on immigration because the federal government failed to. But he agrees that the federal government has jurisdiction over immigration.
“Without a uniform rule for immigration, America may have 50 different, chaotic standards,” he says. “However, our politicians in Washington, D.C., must get beyond campaign rhetoric to a rational immigration policy that acknowledges that we are both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.”
Rodriguez declared that now it's time for our federally elected officials to rise up with the moral fortitude to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
“It's time for Republicans and Democrats alike to come together and declare that this generation will not tolerate any legislative measure that tears us apart rather than bring us together,” he says.
“For at the end of the day, the gospel of Matthew states it best; Blessed are the those that hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be filled. Today's decision began to quench the thirst."