Law & the Courts

A Legal Victory against Open Borders

Anti-SB1070 rally in Arizona, May 2010. (Scott Griessel/Dreamstime)
A federal judge rules in favor of enforcing immigration law.

Immigration patriots had a respectable win in federal district court late last week. In a suit filed by Soros-funded open-borders attorneys, Judge Susan Bolton of the District of Arizona ruled that various provisions of the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, otherwise known as SB-1070, was not racially discriminatory and could be enforced as written.

For background, SB-1070 was massively supported by the American public at the time it was passed. Arizona enacted the law “to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States.” In passing the law, the legislature found that there was “a compelling interest in the cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws throughout all of Arizona.” The legislature also declared that the intent of the law was “to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona.”

The attorneys who brought the latest challenge are from the National Immigration Law Center, an outfit that receives funding from both George Soros’s Open Society Institute and the Ford Foundation. The attorneys contended that part of the law, commonly referred to as the “show me your papers” provision, would have a “disparate impact” on Hispanics in Arizona inasmuch as they account for more of the foreign-born and illegal-alien population there than people of other races. That provision, which survived scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, allows Arizona police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop. For the open-borders attorneys to prevail on an Equal Protection claim, they would have had to demonstrate that officers would enforce the law differently for an Hispanic and for a “similarly situated person” of another race or ethnicity. This they could not do. The neutral law was intended to be enforced, and is enforced, in the same way for all races and ethnic groups.

In addition to the status-check provision, Judge Bolton also upheld Section 2(D) of the law, which authorizes officers to transport illegal aliens to federal detention centers. This, the attorneys argued, created powers for Arizona’s police that conflicted with the immigration powers of the federal government. That argument was also rejected. Judge Bolton found the section consistent with state officials’ enforcement actions taken under so-called 287(g) agreements, a program that authorizes state and local police to assist federal immigration agents in identifying illegal aliens, and which is commonly obstructed by “sanctuary” city and county governments.

Although this is rarely brought up, the Mexican government itself has both a federal–state cooperation program and a “show me your papers” provision.

Although this is rarely brought up, the Mexican government itself has both a federal–state cooperation program and a “show me your papers” provision. Mexican federal, state, and local authorities are required to ask for evidence of legal immigration status from foreigners, and cooperation between federal police and immigration authorities is mandatory. Still, Mexico formally joined the U.S. Department of Justice in challenging SB-1070, the “show me your papers” provision and all, right up to the U.S. Supreme Court — in effect, pitting the United States and Mexico against Arizona. Noting the double standard, an adviser to former Mexican president Vicente Fox, Fredo Arias-King, recently stated that Mexican elites love having open borders with the United States, as this allows them to get rid of their poor and uneducated and relieves them from making much-needed domestic reforms.

The Mexican government also launched a PR campaign against SB-1070, which included trotting out charges of “racial discrimination.” That most travel-weary of accusations also featured prominently throughout this latest court case. The open-borders attorneys had actually subpoenaed my employer, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), for e-mails between us and Arizona state officials in an attempt to show “discriminatory intent” behind the law (if such intent were found, it could overturn a law completely).

Part of IRLI’s work is to advise state and local governments on what they can do to enforce our federal immigration laws — this is a job the federal government won’t do, of course. We had advised Arizona state officials during the SB-1070 drafting process, and because we advocate for victims of unchecked immigration, our open-borders opponents were apparently expecting to find in our communications a litany of racial epithets directed at Hispanic people. The group sought communications between us and Arizona state officials, hoping to find e-mails where some of the following words were used: “Hispanic,” “illegals,” “invasion,” “Oriental,” “Reconquista,” “sanctuary,” and “wetback.” We complied with the order, and our opponents found absolutely nothing. Arizona’s law, like other efforts by state and local governments, was crafted to stem illegal immigration, not to discriminate. We may hope that the hunt for discriminatory claims against the state of Arizona has now been stopped for good.

— Ian Smith is an attorney in Washington, D.C., and works for the Immigration Reform Law Institute.


Ian SmithIan Smith is an attorney in Washington, D.C., and a contributing blogger with immigration enforcement advocate, the Immigration Reform Law Institute.


The Latest