(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued a statement today in response to today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, upholding a key provision of SB 1070, Arizona’s illegal immigration enforcement law, allowing police officers to check the immigration status of individuals they arrest or stop for questioning whom they suspect are in the U.S. illegally.
On April 11, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction against enforcement of some of the law’s provisions per the request of the Obama administration, prompting the State of Arizona to petition the High Court (State of Arizona et al., v. The United States of America).
Judicial Watch had previously defended the law on behalf of the Arizona State Legislature. Most recently it filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, and a separate brief on behalf of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI). The amicus brief on behalf of SLLI was joined by 29 legislators from 20 states. In both briefs, Judicial Watch argued that SB 1070 utilizes the state of Arizona’s well-established police powers and therefore is not preempted by federal law as the Obama administration maintains. Judicial Watch asked the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling placing key provisions of SB 1070 on hold.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated:
This is a victory for the safety and security of Arizona and the nation. The Supreme Court held that local police can to help enforce immigration law by inquiring about immigration status. This sensible application of the law confirms that local law enforcement can use an additional tool to protect public safety. We can expect dozens of states to enact laws further empowering the police as Arizona did. The Obama administration should now focus on enforcing immigration laws rather than thwarting them.