Law & Order
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued a statement reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision striking down three of the four provisions of the state’s controversial immigration law, SB1070, which she signed into law in 2010. Ms. Brewer said she’s glad the Court upheld the provision she called “the heart” of the law, which allows police officers to check someone’s immigration status in the course of investigating other crimes as long as there is “reasonable suspicion” that person is here illegally.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens,” Ms. Brewer said. “After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.”
Other supporters of the law, including Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Congressman Steve King, also responded to today’s Supreme Court ruling.
Law & Order
Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-3 mostly in favor of the federal government and struck down portions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB1070. Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney quickly released statements reacting to the ruling.
This morning, Mitt Romney’s campaign policy director Lanhee Chen, his deputy communications director for media affairs Kristy Campbell held a conference call with the press to “discuss the latest in a series of devastating economic news and President Obama’s record of failing to put America back on a path to prosperity.”
However, all three of the questions from reporters on the call were about what Mr. Romney’s position is on President Barack Obama’s newly announced immigration policy. Despite the clear connections between immigration policy and the job market, the Romney campaign staffers repeatedly dismissed the questions as “off topic” before ending the call entirely.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg told CNN host Fareed Zakaria he doesn’t believe undocumented immigrants pose a crime risk in an interview for the upcoming television special Global Lessons: The GPS Road Map for Making Immigration Work.
“Undocumented have very low crime rate. Why? Because they’re scared to death they’re going to get arrested and deported,” Mr. Bloomberg said of New York’s undocumented immigrants.
Strongly Worded Letters
Former Comptroller and current mayoral candidate Bill Thompson wrote a letter to President Barack Obama today asking him not to implement the controversial Secure Communities fingerprinting program in New York. The program involves checking fingerprints of people arrested by local or state police in a Department of Homeland Security database that contains immigration records. If an offender is found to be an illegal immigrant police contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which can request for the person to be detained up to 48 hours and taken by federal agents.
“I am writing to ask you to respect the objections of New York State leaders and reverse the position taken by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to fully implement the Secure Communities program in New York,” Mr. Thompson wrote. “Studies show that this program does little to protect our neighborhoods. Instead, it drives many hard-working immigrants into the shadows of our society, thus actually compromising public safety.”
State Senator Adriano Espaillat, campaigning for congress against incumbent Charlie Rangel, has found a ripe target for criticism in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. During his primary contest, of course, Mr. Romney found immigration to be one of the few issues he could stake out a more conservative position than his rivals on, but now that he’s entering the general election and seeking the support of Latino voters, his party has stumbled a little in seeking to articulate his beliefs in recent days.
“I think as a candidate, to my understanding, he’s still deciding what his position on immigration is. I can’t talk about what his position is going to be,” Bettina Inclan, the RNC’s Hispanic Outreach Director, said in a conference call with reporters earlier this week, for example. She later claimed to have misspoken.
Jim Gilchrist, the co-founder of the controversial vigilante immigration enforcement group, the Minuteman Project, took to his Facebook page this evening to make sure no one associates him with fellow border vigilante Jason Todd “J.T.” Ready, who is being accused of killing four people in Arizona on Wednesday before committing suicide. Mr. Gilchrist wrote his Facebook update in response to articles that identified Mr. Ready as being affiliated with the Minuteman Project.
“J.T. Ready appeared at one of the Minuteman Project border observation outposts once in April 2005 to hand out white supremacy leaflets. He was summarily escorted from the outpost and warned not to infiltrate our group,” Mr. Gilchrist wrote.
Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich got into a heated battle over immigration at tonight’s CNN presidential debate in Florida after moderator Wolf Blitzer brought up an ad that was eventually pulled where Mr. Gingrich referred to Mr. Romney as the “most anti-immigrant candidate.”
“I’m not anti-immigrant. My father was born in Mexico, my wife’s father was born in Wales, they came to this country,” Mr. Romney said. “The idea that I’m anti-immigrant is repulsive. Don’t use a term like that.”
The State University of New York Board of Trustees passed a resolution yesterday calling for legislation that would give undocumented immigrant students access to tuition assistance, loans and in-state tuition rates “as intended by the DREAM Act.”
“The current demographic realities of New York State indicate that many of the brightest and hardest working students eligible to enroll at SUNY are of undocumented status, and it is imperative that SUNY remain accessible to these students,” Board Chairman H. Carl McCall said.
Law & Order
Several New York City Council members want to wade into the battle over Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration law, SB1070. Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Daniel Dromm plan to introduce a bill today urging the Supreme Court to uphold a federal injunction against the law. SB1070, which was originally signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in April 2010, mandates immigrants in Arizona to carry their federal registration documents at all times and requires police officers to detain those they suspect are here without authorization and verify their immigration status “when practicable.” Three months after SB1070 was passed, the Department of Justice successfully sued in federal court to stop enforcement of the law before it took effect. Arizona appealed the injunction, and on December 12, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case.
“New York is a town founded by immigrants, built by immigrants and today nearly 40% of our population are immigrants,” Councilman Rodriguez said in a statement announcing the bill. ”So when we in the Council see other parts of the country stripping immigrants of their rights, there is no question that we have to act. As the Supreme Court gets ready to decide on the Justice Deparment’s challenge to SB1070, we want them to know that New York City stands with the immigrants of Arizona in saying that this law has got to go.”