Reactions to the Supreme Court's Ruling on Arizona v. United States, June 25, 2012  >

The White House

Statement by the President on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona v. the United States
I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law.  What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform.  A patchwork  of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.
At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally.  I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status.  No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like.  Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes.  Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.
I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.  And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them.  What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are.  What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Statement by Secretary Napolitano on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona v. the United States

"I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that state laws cannot dictate the federal government’s immigration enforcement policies or priorities. DHS remains focused on enhancing public safety and the integrity of our border by prioritizing enforcement resources on those who are in the country unlawfully and committing crimes, those who have repeatedly violated our immigration laws, and those who recently crossed our borders illegally. The Court’s decision not to strike down Section Two at this time will make DHS’ work more challenging. Accordingly, DHS will implement operational enhancements to its programs in Arizona to ensure that the agency can remain focused on its priorities. Over the past three and half years, this Administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border and to enforcing our nation’s immigration laws in a firm and reasonable fashion. We continue to urge Congress to pass comprehensive reform because nothing short of a comprehensive solution will resolve the current patchwork of immigration laws. Finally, it is important to note that today’s Supreme Court decision will not impact the memorandum I issued on June 15th related to prosecutorial discretion eligibility for productive members of society who were brought to the United States as children."

Romney for President
Boston, MA – Today, Governor Mitt Romney issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Arizona immigration law:
“Today's decision underscores the need for a President who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration. This represents yet another broken promise by this President. I believe that each state has the duty--and the right--to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities. As Candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office.  But 4 years later, we are still waiting.”
State of Arizona, Office of the Governor
Statement by Governor Jan Brewer
U.S. Supreme Court Decision Upholds Heart of SB 1070

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens. After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.

“While we are grateful for this legal victory, today is an opportunity to reflect on our journey and focus upon the true task ahead: the implementation and enforcement of this law in an even-handed manner that lives up to our highest ideals as American citizens. I know the State of Arizona and its law enforcement officers are up to the task. The case for SB 1070 has always been about our support for the rule of law. That means every law, including those against both illegal immigration and racial profiling. Law enforcement will be held accountable should this statute be misused in a fashion that violates an individual’s civil rights

“The last two years have been spent in preparation for this ruling. Upon signing SB 1070 in 2010, I issued an Executive Order directing the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZ POST) to develop and provide training to ensure our officers are prepared to enforce this law efficiently, effectively and in a manner consistent with the Constitution. In recent days, in anticipation of this decision, I issued a new Executive Order asking that this training be made available once again to all of Arizona’s law enforcement officers. I am confident our officers are prepared to carry out this law responsibly and lawfully. Nothing less is acceptable.

“Of course, today’s ruling does not mark the end of our journey. It can be expected that legal challenges to SB 1070 and the State of Arizona will continue. Our critics are already preparing new litigation tactics in response to their loss at the Supreme Court, and undoubtedly will allege inequities in the implementation of the law. As I said two years ago on the day I signed SB 1070 into law, ‘We cannot give them that chance. We must use this new tool wisely, and fight for our safety with the honor Arizona deserves.’”


Service Employees International Union
SEIU's Eliseo Medina: "The Court has decided, but on Nov. 6 we will have the final say."
Supreme Court Upholds Arizona's SB 1070 Racial Profiling Provision

WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the key portion of the anti-immigrant Arizona law SB 1070 - the discriminatory provision that forces law enforcement to request immigration papers of anyone they suspect might be undocumented. While the court did not specifically consider the racial profiling or unconstitutional search and seizure issues in this limited case, law enforcement officers across the country have testified the law cannot be enforced without racial profiling.

On a key point, the court agreed that only the federal government should regulate immigration. The court also left the door open to future legal challenges, which SEIU and other plaintiffs in other lawsuits against SB 1070 are pursuing.

SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina responded to the court's ruling:

"Today the Supreme Court agreed with us - that only the federal government should regulate immigration and that states do not have the right to create a fifty state patchwork of immigration laws. But today is not a good day for justice in America. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the most egregious section of this discriminatory law that defies the words etched in stone across the front of the august court building: 'Equal Justice Under the Law.' Justice was NOT applied equally in the Arizona case.

"The Supreme Court has upheld a portion of the law that cracks the core of our principles - justice and equality, the very foundation America's immigrant ancestors sought. The Arizona law, in effect, legitimizes racial profiling.

"The Court may have decided, but we - the people - will have the final say.

"This ruling makes clear that our campaign to mobilize Latino voters and communities of color to organize and grow our electoral power is an absolute necessity. On November 6, we will be heard at the ballot box. And with our votes we will nullify the ruling by pushing Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. We will defeat the politicians who advance a racial profiling agenda, wedge-issue politics of divisiveness, and the corporatizing of our democracy.

"It's up to Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform that will silence the attacks on our immigrant communities in each state and nullify bad court decisions. If lawmakers expect us to vote for them, we will expect action by them.

"Make no mistake, we will look at each candidate and support those who pledge to enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform at the federal level.

"With our growing numbers at the ballot boxes across this country in November, we will ensure that this hostile era of public policy based on discrimination and hatred will be replaced by fair and just solutions for all of America.

"In the meantime, we urge the federal government to keep an eye on Arizona and other states who may see this as a signal to go after immigrants. It will take several weeks for this part of the law to be allowed to go into effect and the federal government must ensure that the civil rights of all people are protected while other legal challenges are

"Justice does not come easily, nor does it come swiftly. But it will come.

"As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words remind us: 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.'"

National Coalition for Immigrant Women's Rights (NCIWR)

Immigrant women's group gravely concerned over U.S. Supreme Court's mixed decision on harsh immigration law

Court upholds “papers, please” provision, strikes down others

WASHINGTON — Today the United States Supreme Court rendered a mixed decision, striking down portions of SB 1070, one of the harshest and most criticized immigration laws in the country, while leaving others intact. Notably, the Court upheld the “papers, please” provision of the law, which requires local law enforcement to stop and question anyone who appears to be an immigrant and has widely been interpreted as encouraging racial profiling. Many civil rights leaders and immigration experts have predicted the Arizona law would promote stigma and bias against Latinas and women immigrants, leaving them more vulnerable to crimes like intimate partner violence and less likely to seek needed services like prenatal care. Today the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR) expresses grave concern that even partially upheld SB 1070 is a major setback for women immigrants.

“Women immigrants are making enormous social and economic contributions in communities across the United States,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), one of the two organizations that lead NCIWR. “Laws like SB 1070 completely ignore this reality — and reflect a broken system that leaves women in the shadows. That’s why we are committed to working toward comprehensive immigration reform.”

The Supreme Court’s decision is crucial, as it is likely to inform immigration laws in states across the country. Already lawmakers in about a dozen states have said they would seek to propose laws similar to SB 1070 if the court upheld its key provisions.

“SB 1070, even with some provisions removed, threatens to tear families apart and create a dangerous level of mistrust between law enforcement and women immigrants who fear detention,” said Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), an NCIWR co-leading organization. “By upholding one of the most harmful provisions of the law, the U.S. Supreme Court has set a dangerous precedent.”

Today’s Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s SB 1070 comes as we await the high court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration’s landmark health care reform legislation. Together, these decisions will have a profound impact on the health and well-being of Latinas and immigrant communities.


The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights is the leading national collaboration to specifically focus on women and gender issues in the public discourse on immigration. The coalition represents more than 60 leading organizations with a presence nationally and in every state.

American Immigration Council

Supreme Court Limits Arizona's Overreach on Immigration, Leaves Door Open to Future Challenges to Racial Profiling Provision

June 25, 2012

Washington D.C. - In a blow to the state anti-immigration movement, the Supreme Court ruled today that the authority to enforce immigration laws rests squarely with the federal government, limiting the role that states may play in crafting state-level answers to immigration enforcement. By a 5-3 margin, the Court struck down three of the four provisions of SB 1070 that were challenged by the Obama administration as pre-empted under federal law. While the Court agreed that Arizona’s attempt to limit immigration by creating new laws and new penalties to punish undocumented immigrants was pre-empted, it found that a provision requiring local police to investigate the legal status of suspected undocumented immigrants was not pre-empted on its face. The court read this provision very narrowly, however, leaving open the door to future lawsuits based on racial profiling and other legal violations.

“Today’s decision makes clear that the federal government—and only the federal government—has the power and authority to set the nation’s immigration policies,” said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council. “Despite its strongly worded rejection of Arizona's effort to set its own immigration policies, the Court adopted a wait-and-see approach to the controversial racial profiling section of the law. There is already ample evidence of discrimination and abuse in Arizona, and many communities in the state will bear the brunt of the Court's unwillingness to face that reality. It's time for Congress to heed the dire warnings contained in this opinion and recommit to fixing our broken immigration system.”

For additional information see:

Q&A Guide to Arizona v. United States: What You Need to Know About the Supreme Court Case Involving SB 1070
Q&A on What Arizona v. United States May Mean for States with Similar Immigration Laws
Q&A Guide to State Immigration Laws: What you Need to Know if Your State is Considering Anti-Immigrant Legislation
Bad for Business: How Harsh Anti-Immigration Legislation Drains Budgets and Damages States’ Economies


American Civil Liberties Union

ACLU Officials Respond to Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law
Decision Condemned as Being on the “Wrong Side of History”


The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the most hotly disputed part of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, which requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is “reasonable suspicion” a person is not in the U.S. legally.

Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director, condemned the ruling.
“By reinstating the “show me your papers” for now, the Court has left the door open to racial profiling and illegal detentions in Arizona. The ACLU has amassed an $8.77 million war chest to fight those battles in court and to counter any and every anti-immigrant copycat measure in other states. The xenophobic virus in Arizona must be contained before it spreads to other states. These laws will devastate local economies, undermine law enforcement and pit neighbor against neighbor. It’s a toxic combination that threatens basic American values.”

Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said the decision sets a dangerous precedent.
“Today’s opinion leaves communities in Arizona in jeopardy by reinstating the “show me your papers” provision for now. In leaving the serious constitutional problems to be resolved in future litigation, the Court fails to recognize how Arizona’s law will damage our constitutional rights as soon as it goes into effect. But the Court also delivered a sharp rebuke to Arizona by striking down three out of four provisions. Today’s decision is not the end of the story. We will ultimately win this battle in the courts and in the arena of public opinion, because there is nothing good about these laws – they’re discriminatory, they waste taxpayer money, and they wreck our economy.”

American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

High Court ‘Rightly’ Invalidated Most of Arizona’s Harsh Anti-Immigration Provisions, ACS President Caroline Fredrickson Says
Justices Who Would Have Upheld Entire Law Show ‘Disconcerting Disconnect’
ACS President Caroline Fredrickson’s Statement on Arizona v. United States:

“The Supreme Court rightly found several key provisions of Arizona’s harsh immigration law to be an affront to the constitutional power of addressing immigration matters that belongs exclusively to the Congress and the president.  Although the majority opinion leaves unsettled the fate of Arizona’s ‘show me your papers’ provision, it sends an otherwise strong message affirming the federal government’s authority to set immigration policy. To do otherwise, would promote an untenable patchwork of laws. Arizona cruelly flaunted the will of Congress and the president in advancing a law that promotes racial profiling and treats undocumented persons, as well as those thought to be undocumented, as suspect.

“One of the most troubling aspects of today’s Supreme Court action comes from the justices who would have upheld all of the challenged provisions of the Arizona law. Those justices reveal a disconcerting disconnect from the reality of what state sovereignty means.”
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The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS), founded in 2001 and one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations, is a rapidly growing network of lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers and other concerned individuals. For more information about the organization or to locate one of the more than 200 lawyer and law student chapters in 47 states and the District of Columbia, please visit
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Bishops Greet Supreme Court Decision on Immigration with Hope, Caution
See decision as step toward humane immigration reform
Seek federal government’s strong role in immigration
Wary that part of decision might lead toward racial profiling

WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops greeted with hope and caution the June 25 Supreme Court decision to strike down provisions of an Arizona immigration law that would have allowed warrantless arrests of people suspected of an offense that is deportable, that would have made it a crime to seek work in the state and that would have made undocumented presence a state crime.

The bishops found hope in the decision in Arizona vs. United States and said it reflects the bishops' call for humane and just immigration laws and concern for laws that could tear families apart. Their caution lay in the lifting of an injunction against immigrants having to show papers in some circumstances.

The bishops had filed a friend of the court brief in the case.

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, expressed concern regarding the one part of the 5-3 decision that narrowly upheld a provision that permits state law enforcement personnel to determine the immigration status of any person stopped, detained, or arrested if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is not lawfully in the United States, and to verify the immigration status of any person arrested before releasing that person.

In the opinion, the justices left the door open that the provision that was upheld — known as 2(B) of SB 1070 — could later be found unconstitutional.

"While we are concerned with the Court's decision to lift the injunction on section 2 (B) of the law, we are encouraged that the Court did not rule it constitutional," Archbishop Gomez said. "As we articulated in our amicus brief, the implementation of this provision could lead to the separation of families and undermine the Church's ability to minister to the immigrant population."

A copy of the brief can be found at

"We stand in solidarity with our brother bishops in Arizona, as they prepare to respond to the implementation of this provision and its potential human consequences," Archbishop Gomez said.

Opponents of the law have expressed concern that the decision would lead to the racial profiling of immigrants and the violation of civil rights laws.

Archbishop Gomez highlighted the Court's other provisions.

"The Court's decision to strike down the other provisions of the Arizona law reaffirms the strong role of the federal government in regulating immigration," said Archbishop Gomez.

Archbishop Gomez urged state governments not to rush to pass laws similar to SB 1070 and called upon Congress to assume its responsibility and enact comprehensive immigration reform.He vowed that the Catholic Church in the United States would continue to fight for humane and just reform of the nation's immigration system.

"The U.S. Catholic bishops across the nation will urge their state governments to not pursue laws such as in Arizona, but rather to pursue humane reform on the federal level," Archbishop Gomez said."Humane enforcement of our nation's laws are part of any solution, but enforcement by itself, unjustly administered, only leads to abuses and family breakdown."

"The Church will continue to stand by immigrants and their families and seek justice on their behalf," stated Archbishop Gomez.


Arizona vs. United States, U.S. Bishop, Archbishop Jose Gomez, Committee on Migration, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops


American Federation of Teachers

AFT Statement on Supreme Court Immigration Decision

WASHINGTON—Today American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of Arizona’s infamous immigration legislation, commonly known as SB 1070.

“Today America’s highest court found unconstitutional three of four provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070, reaffirming the pre-eminent role conferred upon the federal government in matters involving immigration. Though the court appears to have narrowed the application of the remaining section of the law and left open the possibility of further challenges, it is troubling that individuals may still be subject to racial profiling under this law.

“We are a nation enriched by its immigrants, and we must value our diversity, not declare war on it. While the single provision of the law upheld by the Supreme Court is deeply troubling, the decision to invalidate most of SB 1070 constitutes a victory for some of our most fundamental beliefs as a nation.

“SB 1070 and its copycat laws in Alabama, Georgia and other states compromise the fundamental rights that we have worked so hard to embed in our national consciousness. The AFT has a long and proud tradition of advancing social justice and civil rights, and of fighting to give not only our members and their families but all Americans access to a better life. We are committed to providing an educational environment that embraces differences and diversity, enabling all students to reach their full potential regardless of citizenship status. The Supreme Court’s ruling in this case is an important step forward in re-establishing trust in schools and communities with large immigrant populations across the country.”


Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

FAIR Applauds Supreme Court’s Decision Upholding the Right of State and Local Governments to Protect Citizens against Illegal Immigration

(Washington, DC  June 25, 2012)  Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), called today's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding key provision of Arizona's immigration enforcement law, SB 1070, "an important victory for the people of Arizona and citizens everywhere who want their jobs, tax dollars and security protected from mass illegal immigration.

"The United States Supreme Court has made it very clear that state and local governments have an important role to play in enforcing federal immigration laws. Even if the Obama administration refuses to enforce most immigration laws, states have the power to deter and discourage illegal aliens from settling or remaining within their jurisdictions," continued Stein.

Coupled with last year's ruling, upholding Arizona's requirement that all employers check the employment eligibility of the people they hire using the federal E-Verify system, states now have broad latitude to carry out a policy of attrition through enforcement.

"The Supreme Court has provided state and local governments with clear guidelines of what they can do to discourage illegal immigration and assist in immigration enforcement," said Stein. "It is now up to them to choose whether to protect the interests of illegal aliens or the interests of citizens. And, it is now up to Congress to hold the Obama administration accountable for carrying out the nation's immigration laws in a manner that protects the interests of the American people in all 50 states."

FAIR's legal team is carefully reviewing today's ruling and will issue a detailed analysis of what it will mean for the future of immigration enforcement.

Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch Statement on Supreme Court of the United States Decision Upholding Key Provision of Arizona SB1070

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued a statement today in response to today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, upholding a key provision of SB 1070, Arizona’s illegal immigration enforcement law, allowing police officers to check the immigration status of individuals they arrest or stop for questioning whom they suspect are in the U.S. illegally.

On April 11, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction against enforcement of some of the law’s provisions per the request of the Obama administration, prompting the State of Arizona to petition the High Court (State of Arizona et al., v. The United States of America).

Judicial Watch had previously defended the law on behalf of the Arizona State Legislature.  Most recently it filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, and a separate brief on behalf of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI).  The amicus brief on behalf of SLLI was joined by 29 legislators from 20 states. In both briefs, Judicial Watch argued that SB 1070 utilizes the state of Arizona’s well-established police powers and therefore is not preempted by federal law as the Obama administration maintains. Judicial Watch asked the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling placing key provisions of SB 1070 on hold.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated:

This is a victory for the safety and security of Arizona and the nation.  The Supreme Court held that local police can to help enforce immigration law by inquiring about immigration status.  This sensible application of the law confirms that local law enforcement can use an additional tool to protect public safety.  We can expect dozens of states to enact laws further empowering the police as Arizona did.  The Obama administration should now focus on enforcing immigration laws rather than thwarting them.

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Former Presidential Candidate Gary Bauer congratulated Governor Scott Walker for his win in Wisconsin's recall election, calling it "another sign that taxpayers will award office holders ready to do the hard work of reigning in out-of-control government spending."

Bauer, the chairman of the Campaign for Working Families,  made the following statement:

"I congratulate Governor Scott Walker for his hard-fought victory tonight, and most especially for having the courage of his convictions to fight the good fight. But the victory in Wisconsin is not Scott Walker's alone.  It is a victory for the hard-working taxpayers of Wisconsin, who foot the bill year after year.  It is a victory for common sense over powerful special interests.  It is a victory that taxpayers in every state can celebrate.  It is a victory, yes, even for some union members.

"Since Gov. Walker's reforms were enacted, tens of thousands of state employees have opted to keep more of the money they earn rather than let the public employees union siphon off their hard-earned dollars.  In other words, once given the choice, more than half of the public employees union's members decided that they didn't need the union.  These reforms will pay real dividends for the taxpayers of Wisconsin.  They are the real winners tonight.

"The recall election is a sign of good things to come.  The power of the Big Labor bosses has finally been checked, not just in Wisconsin, but also in scores of other states across the country.  More governors, legislators and taxpayers will be inspired to stand up against the liberal labor unions and do what is truly in the best interests of their communities.  Wisconsin's 10 Electoral College votes are now in play, and the anti-tax, small government movement that swept the country in 2010 is about to sweep Barack Obama out of office in 154 days!"

Source: PR Newswire (