Thursday, July 22, 2010

Latinos seek to defend Arizona law Statute 'simply allows officers to question those already stopped for probable cause'

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

TUCSON, AZ - JUNE 03: A suspected gang member is detained by Tucson Police following a fight June 3, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson Police Department is currently gearing up to begin training its officers on the implementation of the state s controversial new immigration law SB 1070. Among other issues the new law makes it a state crime to be an 'unauthorized alien' or to knowingly harbor, hire or transport an unauthorized alien. A Tucson police officer was one of the first to file suit in federal court challenging the new law. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A team of Latinos in Arizona is asking a federal court for permission to defend their state's new immigration law, which is under attack by the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, the author of the law, scheduled to take effect in days, is asking a judge to allow it to be enforced even while federal lawyers argue the state has usurped the federal government's role in enforcing immigration.

The dispute over Arizona's law, which already is being copied in proposals by other states, is heating up as hearings on the court challenges to the plan begin. The law simply allows officers to ask people already stopped for other reasons to verify their immigration status.

The authors have argued Arizona is facing an unsustainable burden from illegal immigrants, and when Washington refused to act on the violations of federal law, the state took on the responsibility itself.

The first hearing in one police officer's complaint already has been held without a ruling from the judge. Other cases are pending, including the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit against the state.

Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and now Freedom Watch, is filing a motion to intervene in the federal lawsuit on behalf of the Arizona Republican Latino Association.

He said the request marks the first time a group of Latino-Americans has come forward legally to support the new law.

"People of Latin descent, who immigrated here legally, have added a great deal to the culture and heritage of our nation. They are hard working, believe in family values, and are proud to be Americans. They must be respected as fellow Americans," he said.

"I have been troubled by some in the 'anti-illegal immigration movement,' who have played the 'race card' in their efforts to secure our borders. Indeed, there are public interest groups and others who play this card to raise money. While the immigration issue is a legitimate and very important one, and the Arizona law a commendable and necessary effort to secure our borders, this intervention by Latino-Americans is historic, since it shows that the issue is 'one for all' concerned Americans," he said.

State Sen. Russell Pearce

"I am proud to represent the Latin community in upholding the Arizona law, which simply allows law enforcement to question those already stopped for 'probable cause' to question them as to their immigration status. This is no more than the law already allows," he said.

Judicial Watch, which earlier announced it is representing Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, an author of the bill, said it is asking the federal court to allow the law to take effect on schedule July 29.

The public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption said the memorandum has been filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona opposing the government's motion for preliminary injunction.

The government is seeking to prevent provisions of the law, S.B. 1070, from taking effect.

Pearce's memorandum, filed with the court, noted the precedent of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is clear.

"In 1983, [the court] held that nothing in federal law precludes a city from enforcing the criminal provisions of immigration law," it said. "By enacting Senate Bill 1070 … the Arizona legislature simply codified already existing enforcement provisions of federal law that has been the law of the land in some regard for more than 50 years."

The law was signed into effect April 23 by Gov. Jan Brewer.

"As I've said all along, SB 1070 makes no new immigration law, it simply enforces the laws already on the books," Pearce said. "Barack Obama has put politics before the safety of citizens of Arizona who are under the gun from the illegal alien crisis in our state.

"I refuse to apologize for standing up for America and the rule of law," he said. "I hope the court does not allow the Obama administration to run roughshod over the rule of law."

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the claims submitted by the Justice Department in its court action against Arizona have nothing to do with the "rule of law."

"The Obama White House is desperate to kill this law because the president knows if it is allowed to stand, other states will follow suit, and the federal government may finally have to do its job and secure the border. And securing the border is something President Obama is loath to do," Fitton said.

"President Obama and his appointee Eric Holder are letting politics get in the way of enforcing the law. Let's hope, for the sake of Arizona and the sake of the country, the court allows this immigration law to take effect next week."

Further, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, a friend-of-the-court brief has been submitted on behalf of more than 80 members of Congress who are supporting Arizona's law.

"It is very clear that Arizona's law regulating immigration is both sound and constitutional," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the organization. "What is equally clear is that the Obama administration is overstepping its constitutional authority in its legal challenge of the Arizona law."

He continued, "The American taxpayer would be better served if the federal government concentrated its efforts on securing our borders instead of pursuing a faulty legal course. Arizona has a constitutional right to regulate immigration in conformance with federal law. The federal government's suit represents nothing more than a constitutional overreach and seeks to elevate the executive branch's discretionary power of enforcement to trump mandatory aspects of laws passed by Congress enabling the states to act on matters of immigration enforcement."

Sekulow said while Congress has "plenary powers over immigration law," the state's new provision "does not interfere with U.S. foreign policy goals as prescribed by Congress," even though the Obama administration claims it does