The Obama administration has succeeded in its effort to dismantle Arizona’s tough immigrant smuggling laws which were designed to aid the state in deporting illegal aliens. The Obama administration viewed the laws as overlapping with federal immigration laws. Arizona enacted them to fill the void left by the federal government’s lack of enforcement of existing immigration laws. Regardless, the Justice Department began taking the state to court to challenge various aspects of the laws. The first Arizona immigration law was originally passed in 2005 by Democrat Governor Janet Napolitano. After leaving office, she would join the Obama administration as the Director of Homeland Security.
In 2010, Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070 into law which toughened the existing illegal immigration law. It was now a criminal offense to be in the United States without documentation establishing a legal right to be in the country. The terms “undocumented worker” or “undocumented alien”, which are synonyms for an illegal alien, arose from a loophole in federal immigration law that allow an illegal alien to plausibly deny their status to law enforcement by virtue of carrying no proper identification. S.B. 1070 effectively closed that loophole.
Little by little, the Justice Department was able to get pieces of Arizona’s immigration laws overturned in federal court. On Friday, Judge Susan Ritchie Bolton, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, ruled that S.B. 1070 overlapped federal law and struck down the sole remaining part of the state’s immigration policy. The Justice Department released a statement expressing their satisfaction with the ruling. No one from Governor Brewer’s office was available for comment. The legal victories by the federal government make it clear that immigration enforcement is their domain whether they choose to enforce the laws or not. The related issue of amnesty for illegal aliens was one of the issues that drove voters to the Republican Party in the recent mid-term elections.
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