SB 1070 Decision: Spur for Comprehensive Reform

arizona rulingThe political implications of the Supreme Court’s SB 1070 ruling are a wash as far as the November election is concerned.  On the one hand, the President can point to three out of the four provisions being blocked.  On the other hand, Romney and the GOP can point to the heart of SB 1070, the “show me your papers” clause, standing intact.

There will be a great deal of finger-pointing and spin between both camps, but the split decision will have few implications for the 2012 campaign.  Monday’s decision will neither make it nor break it for either candidate or party, for that matter.  The long-term political implications are clear, there is little patience left for piecemeal immigration policy.  The states have been warned that they can’t stick their nose in federal business, but the federal government has been shown that if they don’t get their act together they’ll have to endure some state meddling.  Regardless of who the President is come January 2013 he will have to stop dancing around and put together a comprehensive reform.

If the Supreme Court had held up the entirety of SB 1070, then the take home message would be that immigration policy was not solely the domain of the federal government.   In fact, for the first 100 years of our history, immigration control was left up to individual states and there was no federal-level regulation.  It wasn’t until the 1875 Immigration Act that the first federal policy was put into effect, although it was a rather general policy, barring prostitutes and criminals from coming to the United States.  Immigration as a federal-level policy was further cemented through the Chinese Exclusion Acts of the late 1800s, the early 20th Century Immigration Quotas, and the founding of the Border Patrol in 1924.  At its core, SB 1070 wanted to turn back the clock to when immigration policy was a state level issue.

victoria defrancesco sotoArizona was the test case for whether there was an appetite to devolve federal immigration powers to the state level.  But Monday, the Supreme Court made it clear that there wasn’t.  If the Supreme Court had struck down all of the blocked provisions then the message would have been that the federal government is in the right and nothing needs to change.  The Court indicated that it wouldn’t accept the inaction of the federal government.  Letting the most powerful provision of SB 1070 shows clear displeasure of their immigration modus operandi thus far – doing as little as possible.

A comprehensive immigration reform must be put in place come 2013.  Whether it’s a Democratic leaning immigrant-friendly reform or a more restrictive Republican-leaning reform it doesn’t matter.  The frustration at inaction is showcased all around—by states trying to address the issue on their own, in public opinion across racial and ethnic groups, and most recently by the Supreme Court itself.  The Supreme Court’s decision on SB 1070 is no electoral game changer, but it is a clear indicator that patience has run out at the band-aid approach to immigration.

Victoria Defrancesco Soto

Published: Tuesday, 26 June 2012


  1. Jack Black says

    Comprehensive immigration reform is code word for the plan to massively increase immigration, especially of Hispanics. Once the Hispanic voting block is large enough, politicians will have to cater to that group in order to get elected. Hispanics, along with white liberals who get suckered into their agenda, will then demand more and more immigration, until our middle class is destroyed and the US functions as a third world country. Massive immigration will allow a few billionaires to run our economy and force the rest of us to forfeit our minimum wage laws, workplace safety rules, social security and all the other employment gains we’ve fought for over the past century. Is that what liberals want? For their kids to struggle for $10 a day factory jobs along with millions of desperate immigrants?

    but the split decision will have few implications for the 2012 campaign

    Not true. Some right wing bigots are concerned about immigrants because they’re racists. But most moderates are concerned because illegal aliens of any race suck up all our resources and degrade our career opportunities. Liberals are now pushing for another round of amnesty, this time as a reward for attending college. It’s fine to offer citizenship to people who serve in the US military, but the DREAM Act will reward those who already benefit from our great, publically funded universities. Illegal aliens will take college seats away from our own kids, they’ll receive public support to attend college, and on top of that they want to receive citizenship as a “reward” for their sacrifice! What sacrifice? People all over the world strive to attend US universities. It’s an incredible opportunity for foreigners just to go to school here, never mind getting handed citizenship as well. But liberals keep pushing for freebies and amnesty for illegal aliens, and moderates respond by voting Republican. The SCOTUS decision to take down the Arizona law will help republicans all over the country get elected in 2012, and may even affect the presidential race.
    If we want Democrats to win national elections, we need to focus on the needs of American citizens and stop trying to support illegal aliens who break into our country and steal from us.

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