Supreme Court Hears Arizona Immigration Law

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GloriaInTX's picture
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Supreme Court Hears Arizona Immigration Law

Now that the Supreme Court has heard the case against the Arizona Immigration Law, has it changed your opinion on whether you think it is constitutional or not based on some of the arguments put forth by the Justices?

I have posted a few excerpts below and a link to the full transcript. It is very interesting if you have time to read it.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Anyway, what -- what's wrong about the States enforcing Federal law? There's a Federal law against robbing Federal banks. Can it be made a State crime to rob those banks? I think it is.
GENERAL VERRILLI: I think it could, but I think that's quite -
JUSTICE SCALIA: But does the Attorney General come in and say, you know, we might really only want to go after the professional bank robbers? If it's just an amateur bank robber, you know, we're -- we're going to let it go. And the State's interfering with our -- with our whole scheme here because it's prosecuting all these bank robbers.
GENERAL VERRILLI: Well, of course, no one would -
JUSTICE SCALIA: Now, would anybody listen to that argument?
GENERAL VERRILLI: Of course not.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Of course not.

JUSTICE ALITO: Well, could I ask you this about 2, before you move on to that? How is a -- this is just a matter of information. How can a State officer who stops somebody or who arrests somebody for a nonimmigration offense tell whether that person falls within the Federal removal priorities without making an inquiry to the Federal Government?
For example, I understand one of the priorities is people who have previously been removed, then that might be somebody who you would want to arrest and -- and remove. But how can you determine that without making the -- the inquiry in the first place?
GENERAL VERRILLI: Well, in any individual case, that's correct. You -- you would need to make the inquiry in the first place. It won't always be correct, if you're arresting somebody based on probable cause that they've committed a serious crime, and they -- and they -- the inquiry into whether -- into their status will be enough to identify that person for priority -
JUSTICE ALITO: Well, what if they just, they stop somebody for a traffic violation, but they want to know whether this is a person who previously was removed and has come back, or somebody who's just -- just within the last few hours possibly come -- well, let's just -- somebody who's previously been removed? How can you know that without making an inquiry?
GENERAL VERRILLI: Well, I think -- I think
it's correct that you can't, but there's a -- there's a difference, Justice Alito, I think, between the question of any individual circumstance and a mandatory policy backed by this civil fine, that you've got to make the inquiry in every case.
I mean, I think it's as though -- if I can use an analogy, if you ask one of your law clerks to bring you the most important preemption cases from the last 10 years, and they rolled in the last -- the last
hundred volumes of the U.S. Reports and said, well, they're in there. That -- that doesn't make it -
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS:
What if they just rolled in Whiting?
(Laughter.)
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS:
That's a pretty good one.
JUSTICE BREYER: Look, in the Federal statute, it says in 1373 that nobody can prohibit or restrict any government entity from making this inquiry of the Federal Government. And then it says that the Federal Government has -- any agency -- and then it says the Federal Government has an obligation to respond.
Now, assuming the statute were limited as I say, so nothing happened to this individual, nothing happened to the person who's stopped that wouldn't have happened anyway, all that happens is the person -- the policeman makes a phone call.
Now that's what I'm trying to get at.
If that were the situation, and we said it had to be the situation, then what in the Federal statute would that conflict with, where we have two provisions that say any policeman can call?

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Can I get to a different question? I think even I or someone else cut you off when you said there were three reasons why -- 2(B).
Putting aside your argument that this -- that a systematic cooperation is wrong -- you can see it's not selling very well -- why don't you try to come up with something else?
Because I, frankly -- as the Chief has said to you, it's not that it's forcing you to change your enforcement priorities. You don't have to take the person into custody. So what's left of your argument?

GENERAL VERRILLI: Well, a couple of things. First is, I don't think it's realistic to assume that the aggressive enforcement of sections 3 and 5 in Arizona is going to lead to a mass migration back to countries of origin. It seems a far more likely outcome it's going to be migration to other States. And that's a significant problem. That's part of the reason why this problem needs to be managed on a national basis.
Beyond that, I do think, you know, the -- it's worth bearing in mind here that the country of Mexico is in a central role in this situation. Between 60 and 70 percent of the people that we remove every year, we remove to Mexico. And in addition, we have to have the cooperation of the Mexicans. And I think as the Court knows from other cases, the cooperation of the country to whom we are -- to which we are removing people who are unlawfully present is vital to be able to make removal work.
In addition, we have very significant issues on the border with Mexico. And in fact, they're the very issues that Arizona's complaining about in that -
JUSTICE SCALIA: So we have to -- we have to enforce our laws in a manner that will please Mexico. Is that what you're saying?
GENERAL VERRILLI: No, Your Honor, but what it does -- no, Your Honor, I'm not saying that -
JUSTICE SCALIA: It sounded like what you were saying.
GENERAL VERRILLI: No, but what I am saying is that this points up why the Framers made this power an exclusive national power. It's because the entire country feels the effects of a decision -- conduct by an individual State. And that's why the power needs to be exercised at the national level and not the State level.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: And your concern is the problems that would arise in bilateral relations if you remove all of these people, or a significant percentage or a greater percentage than you are now. Nothing in the law requires you to do that. All it does is lets you know where -- that an illegal alien has been arrested, and you can decide, we are not going to initiate removal proceedings against that individual.
It doesn't require you to remove one more person than you would like to remove under your priorities.

Full Transcript
http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/11-182.pdf

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4099

No. I'm pretty sure that someone here (Lana?) has posted statistics about how Latinos & African-Americans are interrogated by police officers at shockingly higher rates than white people or Asians. This just fuels the fire. If a white person is minding his own business, he can walk right by, but a brown person minding his own business gets questioned for something whether it's real or not, and then they get detained because they might be an illegal, and it might be hours or days before he's released. That's wrong. The cops shouldn't be able to just throw out a net & round up anyone, and let go those who can prove themselves legal.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 274

Ugh....this is so gross to me and completely unconstitutional. They have no right to hold anyone without probably cause that they are breaking the law. Being of a darker skin is not breaking the law. They have nothing else to go by in most cases.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Jessica1980" wrote:

Ugh....this is so gross to me and completely unconstitutional. They have no right to hold anyone without probably cause that they are breaking the law. Being of a darker skin is not breaking the law. They have nothing else to go by in most cases.

Where in the Arizona law does it say that they can stop or hold anyone without probable cause that they are breaking the law?

Spacers's picture
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Gloria, we all know the cops aren't supposed to stop anyone without just cause, but it's been proven that they do it anyway. That's bad enough when it gives them a chance to look for something they otherwise wouldn't have been able to find. This law gives cops in Arizona the right to hold someone without cause, when they have no justification to stop them in the first place except for the color of their skin, and that should be unconstitutional. And I have good hope that SCOTUS will rule it as such.

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"Spacers" wrote:

Gloria, we all know the cops aren't supposed to stop anyone without just cause, but it's been proven that they do it anyway. That's bad enough when it gives them a chance to look for something they otherwise wouldn't have been able to find. This law gives cops in Arizona the right to hold someone without cause, when they have no justification to stop them in the first place except for the color of their skin, and that should be unconstitutional. And I have good hope that SCOTUS will rule it as such.

How can they rule on a law based on what officers might do that they already are not allowed to do? If you read the transcript I think the Justices made it pretty clear that they were not allowing discrimination as an argument.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Before you get into what the case is about, I'd like to clear up at the outset what it's not about. No part of your argument has to do with racial or ethnic profiling, does it? I saw none of that in your brief.
GENERAL VERRILLI: That's correct.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Okay. So this is not a case about ethnic profiling.
GENERAL VERRILLI: We're not making any allegation about racial or ethnic profiling in the case.

Joined: 08/17/04
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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Where in the Arizona law does it say that they can stop or hold anyone without probable cause that they are breaking the law?

To me it's unconstitutional. There is no probable cause for this person to be arrested. That's not Arizona law that's federal.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Jessica1980" wrote:

To me it's unconstitutional. There is no probable cause for this person to be arrested. That's not Arizona law that's federal.

Have you even read the law? They can't check their immigration status unless they have pulled them over for some other reason.

GloriaInTX's picture
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Yes, I have read the law and I don't agree with it. I still think it is unreasonable to check anyone's immigration status during a routine traffic pull over. I also know that people who look like I or you do Gloria are not going to be asked for their information and that's unfair.

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"Jessica1980" wrote:

Yes, I have read the law and I don't agree with it. I still think it is unreasonable to check anyone's immigration status during a routine traffic pull over. I also know that people who look like I or you do Gloria are not going to be asked for their information and that's unfair.

Really? Everyone I know is asked for their driver's license when they are pulled over. Is it different where you live?

Joined: 08/17/04
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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Really? Everyone I know is asked for their driver's license when they are pulled over. Is it different where you live?

Driver's licenses can be fake for both legal and illegal residents. That does nothing.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Jessica1980" wrote:

Driver's licenses can be fake for both legal and illegal residents. That does nothing.

You can't really fake a driver's license in the state you are a resident of, because it will be in their computer system and law enforcement can usually check that right from their car. You might could possibly fake an out of state license, but that doesn't change the fact that every person that is pulled over is asked for identification.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 274

I'm not saying the licenses are fake but that they are not for that person. So it will register as a real id anyway. Many illegal immigrants do this.

So how would they proceed then? Would they continue to harass someone due to their color or let them go? Seems like an awful waste of time, energy and money. I hate that they are doing this.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Jessica1980" wrote:

I'm not saying the licenses are fake but that they are not for that person. So it will register as a real id anyway. Many illegal immigrants do this.

So how would they proceed then? Would they continue to harass someone due to their color or let them go? Seems like an awful waste of time, energy and money. I hate that they are doing this.

Under which case? If they pulled someone over for speeding and they had a valid ID that checked out why would they go any further? Or are you saying if they suspected it was a fake would they ask them more questions to determine if it was a fake ID? Or are you saying that if they figure out someone has a fake ID they should just not give them the speeding ticket and let them go?

Joined: 08/17/04
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I am saying that yes that this would go further in certain cases.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Jessica1980" wrote:

I am saying that yes that this would go further in certain cases.

In what cases?

So you think that even if they have a valid driver's license that checks out that they are going to go through the trouble of calling immigration on everyone that has brown skin? You know that half the population of Arizona has brown skin right? Is it just the white officers that you don't trust or do you think the officers with brown skin are going to call in even with a valid drivier's license too?

You do know that there are other states that already have laws just like this one?

Joined: 08/17/04
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Yes, I am aware and I think they are bogus.

Spacers's picture
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The problem is that people of color are more likely to get pulled over in the first place for some bogus thing, broken taillight or not quite stopping on a right turn, or even just walking faster than everyone else down the street. White people aren't pulled aside & asked for their IDs for things like that nearly as much as people of color.

And what happens if they don't have ID on them? I've twice been asked by a cop for my ID when I didn't have it, and both times I gave my driver's license number, name & address, they looked it up in the computer and let me go on my way. That wouldn't happen in Arizona to a brown person, even a legal one. Sad

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Spacers" wrote:

The problem is that people of color are more likely to get pulled over in the first place for some bogus thing, broken taillight or not quite stopping on a right turn, or even just walking faster than everyone else down the street. White people aren't pulled aside & asked for their IDs for things like that nearly as much as people of color.

And what happens if they don't have ID on them? I've twice been asked by a cop for my ID when I didn't have it, and both times I gave my driver's license number, name & address, they looked it up in the computer and let me go on my way. That wouldn't happen in Arizona to a brown person, even a legal one. Sad

Sorry I disagree. I think it probably has a lot more to do with the fact that you spoke English and knew your driver's license number and address. I'm pretty that anyone else that happened to if they gave the same information would go on their way, no matter what color their skin was.

Joined: 08/17/04
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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Sorry I disagree. I think it probably has a lot more to do with the fact that you spoke English and knew your driver's license number and address. I'm pretty that anyone else that happened to if they gave the same information would go on their way, no matter what color their skin was.

Wow just wow. I don't know my driver's license number at all but can speak English.

I know many legal immigrants who do not speak English.

That was...well I just can't say it here.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Jessica1980" wrote:

Wow just wow. I don't know my driver's license number at all but can speak English.

I know many legal immigrants who do not speak English.

That was...well I just can't say it here.

The funny thing is that any legal immigrant who couldn't speak English I'm pretty sure wouldn't walk around without their ID because they are used to doing that in any other country. There is no other country that doesn't require you to have your ID.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 274

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

The funny thing is that any legal immigrant who couldn't speak English I'm pretty sure wouldn't walk around without their ID because they are used to doing that in any other country. There is no other country that doesn't require you to have your ID.

I leave without my id a lot. Sometimes I forget...sometimes it is a quick jaunt. I would hate to think just because I am white with brown hair and blue eyes and can speak English that I would be let go but someone who is of a darker color and/or not as proficient in English would not be. That's discrimination.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

My cleaning people can barely speak any english yet worked very hard to become legal citizens of this country.

A lot more than someone who did nothing more than pop out a vagina here on US soil can say. Funny how some people thinks that the location of the vagina they popped out of somehow makes them superior to those who work their tail off to become american citizens, or entitles them to be free from unnecessary and unwanted police interrogation.

Takes me a lot more than just squeezing out a vag to make me proud of myself or to feel superior to others. Maybe I just set the bar really high.

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