Reaction to Arizona Decision

July 28, 2010

Reaction to today's expected ruling by Federal Judge Susan Bolton has mixed views. Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer promised to appeal Judge Susan Bolton's ruling calling it "a temporary bump in the road."

Brewer said:
"I will battle all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary, for the right to protect the citizens of Arizona," she said. "Meanwhile, I also know we still have work to do in confronting the fear-mongers, those dealing in hate and lies and economic boycotts that seek to do Arizona harm."
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard who is running for governor as a Democrat, had a different view. He said, "Rather than providing the leadership Arizona needs to solve the immigration problem, Jan Brewer signed a bill she could not defend in court which has led to boycotts, jeopardized our tourism industry and polarized our state. It is time to look beyond election year grandstanding and begin to repair the damage to Arizona's image and economy."

Former Arizona governor and now Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano issued the following statement regarding S.B. 1070 and the ruling:
"The court's decision to enjoin most of SB1070 correctly affirms the federal government's responsibilities in enforcing our nation's immigration laws. Over the past eighteen months, this Administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border, and we will continue to work to take decisive action to disrupt criminal organizations and the networks they exploit. DHS will enforce federal immigration laws in Arizona and around the country in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor, as well as continue to secure our border.

"ICE works everyday with local law enforcement across the country to assist them in making their communities safer and we will continue do so in Arizona. At the same time, we will continue to increase resources in Arizona by complementing the National Guard deployment set to begin on Aug. 1 with the deployment of hundreds of additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement personnel that will aid in our continuing efforts to conduct outbound inspections, patrol challenging terrain, and interdict illicit smugglers. We are focused on smart effective immigration and border enforcement while we work with Congress toward the type of bipartisan comprehensive reform that will provide true security and establish accountability and responsibility in our immigration system at the national level."
The Catholic Bishops of Arizona commended the judge for "prohibiting the more problematic provisions of the law." From the Catholic News Agency:
In a statement provided to CNA by Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, the Arizona bishops said that they “commend Judge Susan Bolton for enjoining some of the more problematic provisions of SB 1070,” and “ hope that reaction to her ruling will be expressed only in peaceful and legal ways.”

“The bishops are very pleased with the ruling today,” Johnson told CNA by phone on Wednesday. Now that the laws most “problematic” aspects have been “set aside,” he added, “we will continue to watch how the rest of the bill is implemented and also continue to push for what is ultimately needed, and that's immigration reform on the federal level of a more comprehensive nature.”

Continuing in their joint statement, the Arizona bishops lamented the country's “broken immigration system” and and called for renewed efforts in policy reform.

“The tragic consequences of the failure of our nation’s political leadership to enact reform of our immigration system have included the deaths of thousands of people,” they said. “Migrants – women, men, children in desperate circumstances – have died trying to enter our country.”

“U.S. citizens have died because of crimes committed by drug smugglers, people smugglers and weapons smugglers,” the border state's bishops added. “We pray for those who have died and for their grieving families.”

“And we pray that our senators and representatives will put aside their partisan divisions and go to work immediately to fix the broken immigration system.”
The ACLU, one of the six organizations that also filed a lawsuit to block the law stated that the ruling "vindicates similar claims made by the American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of civil rights groups in a separate lawsuit challenging the discriminatory measure." Alessandra Soler Meetze, Executive Director of the Arizona ACLU:
"This is a first step toward a victory for civil liberties in Arizona. We eagerly anticipate proving to the court that this reactionary racial profiling law violates the Constitution so we can begin the real work of crafting practical solutions that address our nation's immigration concerns rather than violate fundamental American values."
Nina Perales, Regional Counsel for the Southeast Region for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) said:
"Today's ruling guts the unconstitutional immigration scheme that Arizona wanted to establish. The judge's decision further shows that SB 1070 is an unconstitutional attempt by the state to take over the federal immigration system within Arizona's borders. States around the nation should take heed that any similar efforts will not succeed."
Rep. Luis Guiterrez (D-Illinois) who is a leader in pushing for comprehensive immigration reform was pleased with the decision and said, "Arresting people based on their appearance and holding them until you can investigate their immigration status is patently un-American and unconstitutional."

From the mouth of a Mexican immigrant, 29 year old Angelica Salas, comes these compelling words:
"We've been here before. Through this country's history we have done wrong by people who were believed not to be American citizens. Yet the thing about America is that everybody here is an immigrant, and we must stop repeating the pattern.

"I came to America from Mexico when I was five, crossing the border with my sister to join my parents who were undocumented workers. My father worked as a groom at the race track, in laundries and as a roofer. My mother was in the garment industry.

"We were lucky – we managed to use a one-off amnesty to gain legalisation in 1980 before Ronald Reagan shut off the opportunity in 1986.

"When people ask me what all these undocumented immigrants are doing in this country, I reply: 'We are working for you, making this country great. We are looking after your children, making your houses beautiful, tending your gardens, so that you can thrive and raise your families. We are working for you."
Photo by AP