Shop around for an opinion on Federal Judge Susan R. Bolton’s ruling last week striking down parts of Arizona’s immigration law and legal scholars are all over the landscape.
Either Bolton is a judicial activist who misinterprets the Constitution and the intent of Arizona’s SB 1070, a shrewd constitutional interpreter protecting federal exemption of state enforcement, or a Clinton era appointee tool of the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice.
What is sure about Judge Bolton is that her ruling set off a firestorm on both sides of the issue.
Protestors, including Service Employee International Union members, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and religious groups insist protests outside the Arizona capitol building will continue until all “undocumented workers” are granted citizenship.
Pablo Alvarado, executive director of NDLOW, said Bolton’s ruling, is “not a full victory.”
In Phoenix, hundreds of protestors at a downtown jail beat on a metal door and blocked access until sheriff’s deputies called for backups and arrested 32 people.
Thirteen others were arrested in downtown Tucson for blocking traffic and a group calling itself Freedom for Arizona blocked Interstate 19 by throwing a barricade of tires, rope, broken glass topped with a sign that read “Stop the militarization of the Border.”
“There are no winners here—no matter what the courts ultimately decide, we will still have wasted millions of dollars and our borders will still not be secure,” said Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D.-Ariz.).
Kris Kobach, the law professor who helped write SB 1070, said Judge Bolton’s ruling was “a temporary setback.”
“The bottom line is that every lawyer in Judge Bolton’s court knows this is just the first pitch in a very long baseball game,” Kobach said.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an ex-federal drug agent known for his immigration sweeps, said the “ruling does not strike down SB1070. Her ruling only puts a hold on a few parts of the new law.”
“Those who are here in this state illegally, my deputies will still ask about their status in this country and will arrest on existing state and federal immigration violations. State violators will be booked into my jail and federal violators will be turned over to authorities,” Arpaio said.
Another Arizona sheriff, Paul Babeu of Pinal County, said “the federal government refuses to secure the border and leaves it to states like Arizona to bear the costs of its inaction. Yet, when we try to do the job they won’t do, in a manner consistent with federal law, they stop us.”
“It’s a sad day in America when our own President has directed his attorney general to provide terrorists Miranda rights, yet fights to deny law enforcement the very tools needed to determine if an illegal is in America legally,” Babeu said.
Groups of protestors waved Mexican flags, signs with swastikas and banners depicting Che Guevara as they marched in downtown Phoenix.
“This accomplishes nothing.” Arpaio said of the protests, “Because I will never stop.”
Following the judge’s ruling, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said, “America is not going to sit back and allow the ongoing federal failures to continue. If the federal government wants to be in charge of illegal immigration and they want no help from states, it then needs to do its job. Arizona would not be faced with this problem if the federal government honored its responsibilities.”
Brewer threatened to file suit against the federal government to force federal enforcement of immigration laws. She said an internal Department of Homeland Security memo being circulated suggests granting amnesty by federal degree will cause a “huge uprising” by American citizens.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement statistics indicate the number of illegal immigrants deported is up, but the federal agency concentrates on deporting illegal immigrants convicted of crimes. “Non-criminal” illegal immigrant deportations have dropped in 2010.
An ICE statement said state law enforcement agencies calls to process illegal immigrants apprehended “will delay response times … and risks exceeding the capacity of the center to respond to higher priority requests for criminal alien status determination.”
The statement indicates ICE lacks the staff and budget to adequately handle the illegal immigration problem which forces American residents of the Border States to question why government funding is spent suing states when those taxpayer dollars could be used to address a long-ignored crisis the Obama Administration admits was caused by Washington’s failure to act.
“The people of Arizona, the people of America, have been promised that our borders would be secured for years and years and years, with it not happening,” Brewer said. “Everything’s off the table, I believe, until we get our borders secure.”
In her ruling, Judge Bolton commented that the Arizona law is ambiguous and awkward, but the same can be said about the Obama Administration’s attitude toward protecting the legitimate residents of states along the Mexican border.
While SB 1070 makes headlines and conversation in faraway Washington, D.C., the Border States’ citizens want more than talk, lawsuits and political electioneering. With the frustration smoldering among extremists on both sides of the issue, there is fear that it is merely a matter of time until some idiot takes a protest stunt too far.
Will it take violence in the street to get the federal government to listen to the taxpayers who are demanding better representation from elected leaders? In Arizona there is an increasing suspicion that things are going to get worse before they get better. People are scared and angry.