Supreme Court Refuses to Let State Enforce Immigraiton Provision

Apr 21, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to let the state start enforcing another provision of its controversial 2010 immigration law. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Gov. Jan Brewer
Credit Capitol Media Services file photo by Howard Fischer

This fight is over a section of SB 1070 that makes it a crime for someone to knowingly harbor or transport someone who is in this country illegally or “encourage or induce the alien to come to or live in Arizona.” A federal judge had enjoined enforcement while the issue is being litigated, a decision upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That did not deter Gov. Jan Brewer who asked the nation’s high court to intercede. The justices declined. Gubernatorial press aide Andrew Wilder said his boss is disappointed.

“Arizona’s ability to combat criminal elements of illegal immigration in our own state is further eroded by this decision. The ruling is yet another blow to the state’s responsibility and authority to enforce public safety and defend the wellbeing of its citizens,” Wilder said.

But, attorneys from the National Immigration Law Center pointed out there already are federal laws making it a crime to harbor those not here legally. And, they argued the state cannot create different or additional penalties over something that is the exclusive jurisdiction of federal authorities. The Supreme Court ruling barring enforcement does not end the case. The state can still try to prove to a trial judge that the statute is legal.