Supreme Court Decision on Immigration Draws Applause, Criticism


Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce was one of the anti-immigration advocates praising the high court's ruling to uphold a 2007 anti-immigration law, calling it "a significant victory." (Photo: Gage Skidmore)
Anti-immigration advocates applauded the Supreme Court's decision last week that upheld a 2007 Arizona law that would punish businesses that hire undocumented migrants.

 

"The Supreme Court gave a big boost to proponents of stricter state laws against illegal immigration by upholding Arizona's 'business death penalty' for employers who repeatedly hire undocumented workers," reported the Los Angeles Times.

 

"The 5-3 ruling gives more states a green light to target those who employ illegal immigrants. And because it rejected the contention that the state was interfering with the federal government's authority over immigration, the decision also encouraged supporters of Arizona's even more controversial immigration law," said the newspaper.

 

The New York Times said, "State lawmakers now know for certain that there is some firm legal ground for the recent round of bills that seek to drive illegal immigrants out of the country by preventing them from taking jobs and even living here."

 

Calling the Supreme Court decision "a significant victory," the sponsor of the Arizona bill, Senate President Russell Pearce (R-Mesa), wrote, "It upheld our 2007 law penalizing businesses for knowingly hiring workers who are here illegally. No longer will companies be able to ignore the rule of law and hire illegal aliens, shutting out legal Arizona workers."

 

Pearce accused companies of hiring "cheap labor" that costs the state taxpayers "to educate, medicate and incarcerate illegal aliens."

 

Author of the controversial 2010 anti-immigration law SB 1070, Pearce said: "The message is now clear to any business that is still considering hiring illegals. If you do so, you will face sanctions, and you could lose your license to operate. This is indeed a 'death penalty' for those businesses that choose to hire those here illegally. Fewer illegals means more job openings for citizens looking for work. We are hoping to bring down the 'help wanted' sign in our state."

 

NumbersUSA, an anti-immigration lobby group, said the Supreme Court ruling was "a big loss" for some business groups and the Obama administration.

 

Roy Beck, founder and CEO of NumbersUSA, wrote that the court's decision was "the most important immigration court caseand we won it."

 

He wrote, "Nothing will do more to retard future illegal immigration and accelerate the departure of the current illegal population than taking away the job magnet."

 

 

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Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, issued a statement critical of the court.

 

"[T]oday’s decision is an affirmation of bad public policy. Absent reform of our immigration law that includes a realistic way of dealing with undocumented workers, the imposition of mandatory E-Verify is a public policy overreach doomed to failure," said Noorani.

 

E-Verify is a federal, Internet-based program that determines if employees are eligible for employment.

 

National Immigration Forum (NIF) defines itself as having "a mission to advocate for the value of immigrants" and encouraging "a better, more welcoming America – one that treats all newcomers fairly."

 

One of NIF's board members is Warren H. Stewart Sr., pastor of First Institutional Baptist Church of Phoenix and an active member of the Baptist World Alliance.

 

Cardinal Roger Mahony blogged that the court had nibbled "around the edges of our immigration mess" and "given the country a confusing policy of frayed edges."

 

Mahony is the archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles.

 

"[T]he Court failed to understand the very difficult plight of immigrant workers who came to this country to meet the demand for employees from a vast number of industries. Virtually all of these workers are members of blended familiessome members are legal residents, some are not. This Court decision seems to suggest that such undocumented workers will simply pack up and return to their countries of origin. Family members will not do that," wrote Mahony.

 

"The result will be more people in our country living unprotected in the shadows of society," he continued, "and more employers finding ways around the burdensome regulations. Neither outcome serves our country well."

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