Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer at a news conference in Phoenix. (Ross D. Franklin / Associated…)
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer started out Monday insisting she was pleased that the Supreme Court upheld what she called “the heart” of her state’s controversial immigration law. But by nightfall, she was declaring that the Obama administration had told the state to “drop dead.”
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down most of SB1070, saying that control of the nation’s borders was the province of the federal government, not the states. It did allow local law enforcement officials to, under certain conditions, check an individual’s immigration status during lawful stops.
During a news conference Monday morning, Brewer said that Arizona would “move forward instructing law enforcement to begin practicing what the United States Supreme Court has upheld.”
“Today is a day when the key components of our efforts to protect the citizens of Arizona, to take up the fight against illegal immigration in a balanced and constitutional way, has unanimously been vindicated by the highest court in the land,” she added.
But later that night, she lambasted the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to cancel its agreements with Arizona law enforcement agencies allowing them to check the citizenship of suspected illegal immigrants. The 287(g) task force agreement cessation was accompanied by an announcement that Homeland Security agents will not respond if asked by Arizona officials to take illegal immigrants into custody unless the detainees had criminal backgrounds or had repeatedly violated immigration rules.
The end of the agreements makes it that much harder for Arizona to carry out the surviving provision of SB1070.
“This is politics at its best. It’s just unconscionable,” she said during an interview with Fox News’s Greta van Susteren. “What they said to Arizona is, ‘Drop dead, Arizona. Drop dead and go away. We’re going to ignore you.’”
“It’s almost become apparent that they can do whatever they darn well want! They don’t want to enforce their laws. They won’t let us help them enforce their laws,” she added.
The Obama administration has, in fact, come under fire from Latinos and others for the high numbers of illegal immigrants who have been forced from the country. In the last three years, his administration has deported more than 1.1 million people, a record. About half of the total were convicted of felony or misdemeanor charges, including repeat violators of immigration law, and were considered priorities for deportation.
The Justice Department responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling by establishing a telephone hotline and email address to receive reports of possible civil rights violations conducted under the auspice of SB1070, which equally incensed Brewer.
“I have all the confidence in the world in our law enforcement. And they will be held accountable. There will be no racial discriminations. No one's civil rights will be abused,” she said during her appearance on Fox. “And for the federal government and the Department of Justice to go out in this manner and to encourage, I would say, bait people to call up and report people, that it's just unbelievable.” firstname.lastname@example.org