Supreme Court Approves Napolitano’s Arizona Immigration Law

May 31, 2011 04:43

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday backed an Arizona law that imposes stiff sanctions on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

From The Americano

Signed by former Dem. Gov. Janet Napolitano.

This is only an “aperitif.” The good stuff is yet to come.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday backed an Arizona law that imposes stiff sanctions on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

This is not the “Arizona law” signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer that has brought out the ire of Democrats and challenges in court from President Barack Obama’s administration.

This one was actually a law signed by a Democratic Governor, Janet Napolitano back in 2007, before she became Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. That is what makes it most interesting.

On a 5-3 vote, the court held that federal immigration law does not preempt Arizona from suspending or revoking the licenses of businesses that violate state immigration law.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote the 27-page opinion.

Then-governor Napolitano signed the Arizona law in 2007, saying that while immigration is a federal responsibility, Arizona had been forced to deal with the issue because the demand for cheap, undocumented labor in the state was contributing to illegal immigration. The argument is similar to the one Brewer now makes.

Numerous organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, have contended the state’s law was barred by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which forbids states from imposing sanctions for hiring illegal immigrants, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.

But Arizona under Napolitano believed the federal law exempts “licensing and similar laws,” and a key issue in the case was whether Arizona’s law fell under that exemption.

The Chamber of Commerce argued that allowing states and localities to regulate immigration would create a “crazy quilt” of statues that will burden employers and would be unfair to employees, according to WSJ. The Supreme Court now has found that argument unconstitutional.

Several states have enacted similar measures penalizing employers for hiring illegal workers, while others are considering legislation like Arizona’s.

Three of the high court’s liberal wing dissented: Justices Breyer, Ginsburg and Sotomayor; Kagan did not participate because she worked on it previously while serving as U.S. solicitor.

The big case still remains before the court, but for officials in Arizona, now Republicans, the issue remains the same. In the absence of the federal law controlling immigration does the state have the right to question people they have stopped for other reasons and ask them for proof they are living in the United States legally.

That is still pending.

But an administration already being questioned for doing little but talking about immigration reform will now have one more question to answer. How come is it that you were opposed and lost a case filed by a governor who now is your secretary of Homeland Security?

It will become confusing.

The Americano/Agencies

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