Arizona Immigration Law: Supreme Court Seems Receptive to Parts of Crackdown
The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed receptive to the argument that Arizona’s tough plan to have state and local law enforcement play a much more active role in identifying illegal immigrants was a valid exercise of its power to protect its borders.
Hearing final oral arguments in the case, justices seemed skeptical of the Obama administration’s claim that a requirement that police check the immigration status of those arrested or detained was an impermissible intrusion on Congress’s power to set immigration policy and the executive branch’s ability to implement it.
“What could possibly be wrong,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., with Arizona officers simply checking the status of someone detained and giving the information to the federal government.
If the federal authorities do not wish to invoke deportation proceedings against the person, Roberts said, they don’t have to.
Justice Antonin Scalia went further, sharply questioning Verrilli about whether a state has the ability to “defend its borders.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Verrilli that the government’s argument that “systematic enforcement” might violate federal law was “not selling.”