• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: Supreme Court Upholds Immigration Checks, but Administration Counters

    The Supreme Court handed down its decision on the Arizona immigration law yesterday, striking some portions of the law in a 5-3 ruling but unanimously upholding immigration status checks by law enforcement. The Obama Administration countered by announcing it would tell Arizona to release most of the people whose status was in question.

    Following the Court’s decision, law enforcement officers must make a “reasonable attempt…to determine the immigration status” of any person they stop, detain, or arrest for a non-immigration offense if “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien unlawfully present in the United States.” That check would involve a call to the Department of Homeland Security, which maintains a 24/7 hotline for this purpose, as the federal government determines who may enter and remain in the country.

    “That means police statewide can immediately begin calling to check immigration status—but federal officials are likely to reject most of those calls,” reports Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times. “Federal officials said they’ll still perform the checks as required by law but will respond only when someone has a felony conviction on his or her record. Absent that, [they] will tell the local police to release the person.”

    The Administration has shown little regard for the other branches of government in most of its policy making, including immigration. President Obama’s recent move to exempt young illegals from the threat of deportation—without a law made by Congress—drew the attention of Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent in the Arizona decision.

    “To say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing immigration law that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind,” Scalia said.

    In striking down some of the Arizona law’s provisions, the Court said that federal immigration law preempted the state law. That should mean that it is the federal government’s job to enforce these aspects of immigration law where the Court says the feds have exclusive jurisdiction. But the Obama Administration has made it clear that will not happen on its watch.

    Not only is Obama’s Homeland Security Department already planning to release most people questioned under the Arizona law, but it also is paving the way to challenge the law with allegations of racial profiling. This is despite the fact that the Arizona law (S.B. 1070) expressly prohibits racial profiling in immigration checks—and the Administration’s own attorney told the Supreme Court that its challenge to the law was not based on any racial or ethnic profiling concerns.

    The President’s statement yesterday planted the seeds for this strategy by saying, “No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like.”

    Though the Administration’s lawyer admitted that racial profiling was not an issue in the Arizona case, the Administration is certainly looking to make it an issue now—it has set up a hotline “for the public to report potential civil rights concerns regarding the Arizona law,” the Associated Press reports.

    Neither side got all of what it wanted in the Arizona immigration decision, but the Supreme Court confirmed that states have an important role to play in enforcing federal immigration law. States should not have to beg the federal government for permission to enforce laws within their borders.

    As Heritage’s John Malcolm noted:

    Arizona and other border states bear the largest burden when immigration laws are not enforced federally or when rules are overlooked. And the burden is significant. There are 2,000 miles along the southwest border, 370 of which adjoin Arizona. Illegal entries and border smuggling by “coyotes” are rampant, with an accompanying influx of drugs, dangerous criminals, and vulnerable people (who often end up as victims of human trafficking). Between 2006 and 2010, in the border town of Nogales alone, 51 drug smuggling tunnels were discovered. Home invasions and kidnappings are common in Arizona.

    Arizona is not alone. As The New York Times reports, “In sustaining one provision and blocking others, the decision amounted to a road map for permissible state efforts in this area. Several other states have enacted tough measures to stem illegal immigration, including ones patterned after the Arizona law, among them Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah.”

    With this decision, the Court has reaffirmed the important principle that, much as he might want to, President Obama cannot prevent the states from taking action to enforce federal immigration laws just by saying that he doesn’t want them to do so.

    Quick Hits

    • Florida is in a state of emergency as the slow-moving Tropical Storm Debby has dropped more than a foot of rain with more to come.
    • Former President Jimmy Carter has accused the Obama Administration of violating “international human rights.” His list of complaints includes drone strikes against terrorists and the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
    • The president of the European Council has proposed that the council have the authority to make changes to European countries’ individual budgets as they try to salvage the euro.
    • The Department of Agriculture is spending more than $2.5 million on ads trying to get more people to sign up for food stamps.
    • Following the election of a president from the Muslim Brotherhood, “the United States now finds itself in a double bind in Egypt,” says Heritage’s Jim Phillips.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    50 Responses to Morning Bell: Supreme Court Upholds Immigration Checks, but Administration Counters

    1. Wildman says:

      So now the present Administration, (which has been proven to be illegal by he Democrat lawers in Tenn.), are going to break the Federal Laws by not enforcing them. How long as Americans are we going to stand by and do nothig?

    2. ConfusedAmericanCtzn says:

      When the Fed not only won't defend our borders but will defend illegal activity with regard to it, and the State and local governments are forbidden to defend it's citizenry, then WeThePeople will be left through natural instinct and the inalienable right to defend themselves and their loved ones, to do it regardless of the personal impact to themselves 'legally'. Such a sad state of affairs.

    3. Evelyn Kerr says:

      Here we have another example of the "King" and all his men disallowing the State of Arizona to protect its people. As Mark Levine said yesterday, illegal immigrants have been granted "amnesty". It is clear for the citizenry to see how Obama's two new Supreme Court appointments can molest our country and its Constitution. And this is only the beginning, as Obama may be able to make an additional Supreme Court appointment by the end of this year.

    4. Bess Moon says:

      King Obama is such a jerk. He said no American should have to be put through this, well news flash Mr. P. they are illegal aliens, not Americans. He will go to any means and say anything to get re-elected, irregardless of the opinion of the Supremes and millions of true, born and breed, Americans. We need to get rid of this guy, he is determined to destroy our wonderful country.

    5. Keith Ellenberger says:

      Barack Obama continues to do tremendous damage to our political system through his short-sighted attempts to use issues for his re-election campaign. His decision not to enforce immigration laws, his decision not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act cast serious doubt on the viability of our Constitution. Article 6 states that the Constitution and all laws enacted by Congress pursuant to it are the supreme law of the land. If the executive picks and chooses which laws he will execute then he has torn up the Constitution that he took an oath to protect and defend. If that is not a high crime then it is at least a misdemeanor.

    6. toledofan says:

      And before the ink was dry, the AG said they weren't going to assist the state in dealing with the illegals andthey were setting up a hotline to report violations to the courts rulings. Now that's what I call a government out of control. How can the government, the AG or Obama, just pick and choose what laws they will enforce. If we don't vote these bums out in November, then, America as we know it will be gone forever.

    7. pat from texas says:

      For this administration to cater to a certain group of likely voters by circumventing the laws on the books and the recent decisions of the Courts, is not only an abomination, but an admission by this administration of their fragile hold on this government and their power. I am ashamed!

    8. Wendell Seaman says:

      Noted 6/26/12. Dept. Of agriculture is spending on Ads to encourage people to sign up for foodstamps! At the same time the Dept.. Of Interior is concerned that to many people are feeding the wild animals and the animals may become dependent on the external feeding! Am I missing something or is this the same scenario from two different sources?
      Why not eliminate the Dept. Of Agriculture? Do we really need 4 DoA employees for every farmer and rancher in the US!

    9. Bill Shee says:

      Why do we need states when we have a president who is castrating them? What was the Founders' definition of High Crimes and Misdemeanors? What does "protect and defend the Constitution" now mean?

    10. Mary......WI says:

      This country has immigration laws to control the number of people coming into the country in a sustainable fashion. What we have now is chaos……illegals are competing for jobs with natural-born citizens, and crowded emergency rooms with free care has skyrocketed the cost of health care.

      The borders have to be permanently closed somehow to eliminate any further economic damage to this country. Obama and yes, many past administrations, have dismissed the problem of illegal entry into this country.

      The Hispanic population, legal and illegal, is being USED by the Obama administration for the democratic vote. Many illegals vote in elections and they vote democrat. Why else would the Obama administration go after all the states requiring photo ID.

      This country has immigration laws but unfortunately they are and have been completely ignored….that's why this country is in a chaotic mess. There is absolutely NO FOLLOWING THE IMMIGRATION LAWS. Fine example being set for the youth of this country…it's OK to break the law. God help us!

    11. Brenda says:

      Where do we go from here? While acknowledging the feds do not enforce immigration laws, have they not in essence said that we are powerless to control the borders of our country unless the feds choose to act? Does this mean that American citizens MUST adhere to federal law, but a select class(illegals) is exempt from those laws? It appears they have given more Constitutional protection to illegal aliens than citizens, and allowed the feds to disregard fedral law.

    12. Joyce Luster says:

      Please explain you last paragraph. How does ".. the Court's decision reaffirm that President Obama cannot prevent the states from taking action to enforce immigration laws ("just by saying that he doesn't want them to do so.")." It seems the Court's decision is, indeed, preventing the states from taking action.

    13. Frank says:

      "Supreme Court Upholds Immigration Checks… " <– Well, at least a partial victory for States Rights & a dimming of an out-of-control Federal Government. But, of course, the Feds immediately set out to try & undermine even that partial victory "… but Administration Counters". Most Americans have still not woken up to just how bad our Federal Government has become. If they had, Obama would lose in a landslide & the GOP would never have nominated another big government Statist in Romney. Worse: Obama may very well win re-election!!

    14. Jeanne Stotler says:

      A person entering the USA without proper papers or overstaying a student or visitor visa have commited a crime and are deemed by law to be here illegally. It is just common sense BUT Obama and has decided to ignore the laws of the country and make them invalid. This is the sign of a Dictator, Remember this is how Hitler and Chavez,Castro and others started out, Congress needs to act and act quickly to bring a halt to this flarant abuse of his office. I am not sure how, BUT I am sure Congress can make him impotent

    15. Roger Crassi says:

      There can be no question that this President is seeking to overthrow the Constitution that he publically swore to uphold at his inauguration, and to gain authoritarian control over the congress. Is this not grounds for impeachment and treason? He has established a pattern of ruling by fiat which is contrary to our Constitution.

    16. Linda says:

      Does anyone think it odd that not even two weeks before this ruling, Obama came out and granted amnesty to 800,000 children of immigrants? Did he know that this ruling was coming? Is he getting information about what the Court is deciding?

      Has there ever been anyone as arrogant as Obama and his administration? Has there ever been anyone who has governed so totally against the will of the people of this country? Has there ever been anyone who has ignored the laws of this country that he took an oath to uphold? Not even Nixon was this bad.

    17. will says:

      Dear President Obama,
      The next time you walk past my portrait please pause a moment and hear me say:
      “If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
      Your Humble Servant,
      George Washington Farewell Address, Sep. 17, 1796

    18. Mike says:

      I think this is just another example of obama's discrimination against people of European descent. This admininistration knows that most European and European Americans benefit adversely from this as well as other policies that obama and holder support. he and holder should be impeached.

    19. RennyG says:

      Book of Daniel, 11: 21-24
      The next to come to power will be a despicable man who is not directly in line for royal succession. But he will slip in when least expected and take over the kingdom by flattery and intrigue. Before him great armies will be swept away, including a covenant prince. By making deceitful promises, he will make various alliances. With a mere handful of followers, he will become strong. Without warning he will enter the richest areas of the land and do something that none of his predecessors ever did – distribute among his followers the plunder and wealth of the rich. He will plot the overthrow of strongholds, but this will last for only a short while. I ASK, WHO DO WE HAVE HERE AMOUNG US??

    20. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Again yesterday, Obama spit in the faces of our law enforcement agencies and our rule of law. Obama directed the feds not to do as the law requires, pick up illegals from a state's law enforcement agencies, but to not even accept that request. Do the people of this nation not understand what Obama has become? Do all Americans realize that Obama has no respect for our Constitution or our laws. He has become so brazen a tyrant and dictator, with the full support ot the DNC and national media, that will not stop before he completely destroys this nation as we know it. Wake up America before it's too late!

    21. Ann Siggard says:

      The Obama team continually snubs not only the American people, but now the Supreme Court. Scalia basically says the American people are now responsible to remove Obama so that the rule of law may once again be upheld in the land. WE THE PEOPLE are responsible now to see that our government gets back on track to serving us, the people, not the whims of the dictator in chief.

    22. Gary Henry says:

      When Obama refuses to obey the Law of the Land as President, ins't that treason?

    23. Mark Simmons says:

      I consider Homeland Security's actions yesterday as the equivalent of giving the finger to the Supreme Court, the state of Arizona and the United States Congress. It is a juvenile action and like any 'bully' they need to be slapped down hard.

      Does either Congress or the Court have the maturity to do so?

    24. Jim says:

      Maybe Elizabeth Warren in MA, if she is ever stopped by the police, can say she was profiled since she is an American Indian! LOL

    25. KC - NM says:

      This is just another example of how divided our country is and how stupid our government has become. What is the big deal – if you get stopped for breaking the law, you would be required to show your identification such as a drivers license. If you don't have identification, then you are suspect of being here illegally and this would be verified. Most law abiding Americans carry some form of identification therefor this would not be an issue if you are here legally.
      The state of New Mexico gives drivers licenses to illegal alliens – a dumb move but politically motivated by the liberals in charge. The illegal person would have identification in New Mexico

    26. @frank95054 says:

      The States must exercise their rights to protect their citizens when the Federal Government abrogates their prime directive: The protection of American citizens. I encourage the Sheriffs to form deputized citizen posses by the hundreds, if not thousands to secure their State borders. Arrest any Federal agent who dares to venture into the State's law enforcement business. Its time we, the people, stand up for the Republic.

      • Carol, AZ says:

        working out a plan now …please support us by pounding Judge Scalia's website, to have the grit to stand up to Mohammad and his mad men for the reversal of 283g.
        It clear to all of us that Barack is coming unhinged and unfit for the job: You can list why.
        Thank you , Frank we have your back too ya know.

    27. Stirling says:

      If the Administration is not going to enforce the rule of law then this president needs to be Legally removed from office. He did take an oath to uphold the rule of law, and now he's acting like a lawless 3rd world dictator..

    28. Victoria DeLacy says:

      This administration has for too long been allowed to trample our laws and values without accountability. Now that Obama knows he does not have the votes to secure a second term the honest way, we could safely assume he had ACORN ready to start trouble at the polls again. Knowing the electorate is now aware of that venue of illegally secured votes, he is attempting to buy more voters by getting illegals included in the process. He must be stopped, the sooner the better. State laws on immigration closely reflect the laws of the federal government in the matter, so getting them enforced should be automatic. Then again, this Usurper is also the same one who trampled state laws by directing his Department of Justice to stop enforcing state DOMA's, so it is the undocumented worker in the Oval that needs to be removed…ASAP!

    29. Jill says:

      No politician I can ever remember has ticked me off the way this jerk of a president has ticked me off. You have to be deaf dumb and blind to not realize how much he hates this country.

    30. Carol, AZ says:

      1) We are being led by a coward America.
      Like any coiled rattler ready to strike the recent brutality of this Mad Max,, through executive order will try to disfranchised our law agencies in AZ; in this case, ICE forced not to deport. .
      The recent decision by the Supreme Court to enjoin one aspect of SN-1070 has this coward raging with anger. "Decline to enforce boggles my mind, Scalia said."
      Do your job Judge Scalia. American lives depend on your intervention..
      The directive and full brutality to AZ, to our law enforcement agencies, over this S.C ruling further blocks the sharing for forensic information, which all enforcement agencies depend upon.
      Our law agencies work in tandem to stay alive, protect AZ citizens of all ethnicities, and to protect you, as a Border State. We aren't coward .
      Our nation knows how a botched program can kill. Brain Terry was an American son and Fast Furious was the genesis of mad men.
      Usurping American law with a War on our Border is treasonous, Judge Scalia.

    31. Bob Wescott says:

      One is driven to contemplate how one would react to being cut off from Federal protections, were one a governor? This one would declare a state of emergency, take control of all federal facilities, including military, within my state, and commence one's own state's border patrol. Then enjoy the federal government's attempt to force my state to back down from enforcing it's own declared state of emergency. THAT would bring the question into the proper, glaring light. Would it use force to impose its flawed will and failure to enforce the 14th and 10th amendments? The scurrilousness of this regime would be on display.

    32. Ed Roch says:

      Ok, so catch and release is the game. If Az catches them and the Feds don't care, Fly them up to Nome Ak and release them up there. It's not deporting them. Ak is still part of the US :)

    33. Jan A. says:

      Since President Obama has already sent word to Attorney General, Eric Holder, NOT to "answer the phone" when AZ law enforcement calls with illegal alien arrests, WHAT GOOD IS THE PORTION OF OUR LAW THAT WAS PASSED BY THE SUPREME COURT????!!!! What a sham. I am shocked that you missed this sad fact in your article. What is Arizona to do now, since the President feels no obligation whatsoever to uphold the law?
      Jan A.
      Phoenix, AZ

    34. Carol, AZ says:

      2. We must ask WHO is this fabrication, in a suit?
      Is it President elect: Barrack Hussein Obama aka Barry Soetoro aka Barry Dunham ala Barack Durham-all known aliases by the occupier in the White House."
      His shopping list of legal obstructions, endless inability to make sound decisions to led us out of certain failure on every social/economic level is covered up by the endless race card propaganda being used against AZ,. and cover-up for every wacko bad decision. The press eats this spin up like, I candy.
      The description of America; "We are a nation of cowards" is self-described..
      We are NOT coward America. Our Governor, our State legislature and all law enforcement agencies remain in the cowards cross hairs, for over three years.
      America you must stand with us.; do you hear us Judge Scalia ?

    35. Jimmy says:

      AZ should offer these people $1000 and a bus ticket to DC to move.

    36. Casey Carlton says:

      How many current problems at the federal level could be solved simply by deporting Obama? Assuming we do this, how long would it be before anyone noticed he was gone?

    37. The Farmer says:

      Yesterday's Supreme Court opinion regarding Arizona's immigration law should dispel any doubt still remaining in the mind of thinking Americans. Chief Justice John Roberts obviously is not a true constitutional American! The particulars in the Arizona law are not spelled out in the Constitution or the amendments thereof, therefore that power, is reserved to the States!!!!!!! It's just that simple!!!!

    38. Shirley says:

      Who does that man think he is? He was elected President, not dictator. This is the USA, NOT the Soviet Union, or Communist China. It is supposed to be for the people and by the people. This man needs to be ousted!

    39. Bobbie says:

      fishy. There's no reason but incompetent and political it came to this while government protects themselves leaving true victims accountable to the expenses of government ineptness … causes suspicion when half an existing law is thrown out that was never enforced. Is Obama the President of America or the President of illegal people living off America(ns)? As long as you don't hold yourself inferior to mankind, violate immigration laws, infringe on government resources and stand honorable to your equal due to society by paying equal tax appropriations, citizenship is sincere and welcome…

    40. Jill says:

      were is my comment from earlier you chickens?

    41. Conservative Dave says:

      Taught in an inner city HS for 20 years and sadly observed the school taken over by illegals and children of illegals. We had to cut all our electives replacing them with make-up and watered down basics. Teachers all had to be trained in English as a Second language. We had to spend our elective funds on beefing up the numbers and size of our security team. You get the picture. And that was when ICE cooperated with the schools and local police. How discouraging must it be to Arizonans to feel they have been abandoned by their president. Can you imagine what will happen to their schools? November is the time to show our outrage at a President and his cronies who will not uphold the laws of our nation.

    42. Larry White says:

      Several weeks ago, I was at Republican Presidential Campaign Debate where an NPR reporter asked (4 times) if I was angry at President Obama. I refrained from telling "no, but I am angry at you for persisting with your point." My direct answer instead was "No, I'm not angry; I am afraid"

      This past week changed my answer in this manner; Now I AM AFRAID! The President and AG Holder have violated laws resulting in the death of two Federal Agents. They have violated their oath of office…no one knows how many times.They are pursuing a class warfare and race-baiting agenda that I believe will result in more violence and more death.

      Weeks ago in another comment to a Heritage Foundation Post, I used the term treason to describe one our President's actions. Heritage was courageous and printed that comment. I pray you will do the same here today.
      Patriots may have to help protect Arizona's Border; it is The United States of America's Border after all.
      God Bless Heritage
      God Bless America

    43. auhunter says:

      So a van full of people, say 10, are stopped because of a traffic violation, and the occupants are obviously Mexican, and AZ authorities have the authority to determine their immigration status. ICE or DHS is called, 2 have criminal records, and authorized to be detained, the other 8 get a free pass. Maybe 4 of those 8 have criminal records in Mexico, but due to lack of communication, we don't know it. So now we have 4 illegals roaming the streets doing whatever they want and 4 more setting up a new drug chain. What the Hell is wrong with that picture? All 10 should have been detained, arrested for a felony, illegal entry into the country, and deported. DHS a duplicate of ICE should be disbanded and its resources turned over to ICE and ICE should enforce the laws a they were originally written, not as some idiot has decided they should be enforced. This is not a question of being politically correct.

    44. JacktheFAC says:

      Since it has been ruled that states do not have the right to enforce federal border laws, does it also mean that states do not have the right to enforce other federal laws like bank robbery (which is a federal law), or counterfeiting (another federal law) or kidnapping (another federal law) or drug smuggling, etc. etc? Perhaps states are only supposed to enforce jay walking, speeing laws (only state ones) and parking tickets.

    45. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      The most important part.

    46. Mutantone says:

      It is time for the states to sue the federal government to make them do their duty. It is the duty of their office to make sure that the borders are protected and not this recent turn of event that the Obama administration is pushing, in that the border patrol is not to do their jobs? And now they are basically telling the illegals that they can walk in with impunity knowing that Homeland Security and the Federal Government is not going to do anything to stop them,perhaps we should stop their pay until they do what we are paying them to do?

    47. Bucko says:

      That is all we need, more federal government, more goverment to waste our federal dollors. Yes! for big government.

    48. bucko says:

      Yes! thats all we need, more governent!!!!!

    49. wessr says:

      Should non-Americans live under a cloud of suspicion based on whether they are here illegally, Mr. Obama?

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.