Arizona cannot deport illegal immigrants under SB 1070

A Mexican law enforcement officer on the Mexico side of the United State's southern border fence. A ladder made from welded rebar is extended over the tall fence. The officer has spotted someone climbing into the U.S. illegally. Border Patrol quickly apprehended the perpetrator.

This Mexican law enforcement officer has spotted a man who climbed an improvised ladder seen here. (Photo Credit: CC BY Omar Omar/Flickr)

As the federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona immigration law SB 1070 continues, Americans continue to voice their support for the bold stance the Grand Canyon State has taken. The New York Daily News reports that a CNN/Opinion Research poll found that 55 percent of Americans support Arizona, while previous polls in early July by CBS News and Rasmussen indicated that 57 and 65 percent of respondents support SB 1070. Now that SB 1070 is on the verge of going into effect in Arizona, an interesting wrinkle emerges: Arizona authorities can round up illegal immigrants, but the state will not have the power to deport them. That power rests with the federal government, and Attorney General Eric Holder doesn’t appear to be in the frame of mind to sign those papers.

SB 1070: A cannon with a pop gun’s power

SB 1070 will empower local law enforcement officials across Arizona to enforce illegal immigration law if there is “reasonable suspicion,” but the federal government’s opposition means that it will not be deporting illegal immigrants. This leaves Arizona with two choices, reports the Wall Street Journal: keep illegal immigrants in Arizona jails temporarily or let them go. If illegal immigrants are detained, Arizona law enforcement can contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement to verify the person’s residency status. If the ICE says the individual can be deported, it is possible that he or she will be ordered to appear before an immigration judge. However, the federal government will not detain the individual. It could be months or years before a hearing occurs.

If SB 1070 goes into effect, ICE could be showered with Arizona Police calls

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that there are approximately 460,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona. SB 1070 could conceivably generate a massive influx of calls from Arizona law enforcement to ICE. Only the cooperation of the Justice Department will make this an efficient process; otherwise, gridlock will likely ensue for both Arizona and ICE.

Maricopa County didn’t wait for SB 1070

Apparently, one Arizona county used to take matters into its own hands, thanks to a federal-local partnership program. The Associated Press reports that Maricopa County has been responsible for the “deportations or forced departure” of 26,146 illegal immigrants since 2007. The 287 (g) program deputized a limited number of law enforcement officers in Maricopa County to help enforce immigration laws.

SB 1070 enables Arizona law enforcement to enforce the law

The 287 (g) provision is a section of the 1995 U.S. law called the Immigration and Nationality Act. SB 1070, according to its supporters, is intended to pick up where Section 287 (g) left off – it will deputize many more law enforcement officers to watch for illegal aliens and enforce the law. This would perhaps address the concerns of critics who claim that the old 287 (g) provision was poorly supervised by Homeland Security and provided insufficient training. In addition, it is many believe SB 1070 will prohibit state and local government officials from preventing the enforcement of immigration law, a noted problem that has contributed to past inefficiency of the program. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told ABC that “If they want to block my jail, I’ll put them in jail.”

Taxpayers deserve value for their money

Considering that the cost of running federal immigration programs has grown from $5 million in 2006 to $68 million in 2010, costs are skyrocketing, reports the Journal. Perhaps effective enforcement – rather than a countless array of special interest groups and a spineless federal government – would ensure that those taxpayer dollars are well-spent.


Associated Press

New York Daily News

Wall Street Journal


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