Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s Angela Kelley on Arizona Immigration Law, U.S. Appeals Court Ruling
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Angela Kelley on Arizona Immigration Law, U.S. Appeals Court Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Angela Maria Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement on the U.S. appeals court ruling which upheld a preliminary injunction against parts of Arizona’s controversial immigration law:

"The Ninth Circuit wisely added a nail to the coffin today of Arizona’s sweeping immigration law, S.B. 1070. Writing for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Judge Richard A. Paez upheld a preliminary injunction against the most controversial provisions of Arizona’s misguided immigration law. The court’s decision validates Judge Susan R. Bolton’s (U.S.D.Ct–AZ) ruling from last July and concludes that the federal government met its burden in establishing that these provisions were preempted by federal law.

Judge Paez’s thorough opinion analyzed each of the four enjoined provisions and found that there is no likely set of circumstances under which the measures would be valid. Two recurring themes in the court’s reasoning highlight why measures such as S.B. 1070 do not pass muster as law and policy.

First, the court found that “the threat of 50 states layering their own immigration enforcement rules on top” of federal law “weighs in favor of preemption.” Second, it demonstrated that S.B. 1070’s potential and actual “detrimental effect on foreign affairs” also weighs in favor of preemption.

Other states such as Florida and Georgia that are currently eying such measures should pay attention to this ruling and the rationale behind it.

Arizona’s S.B. 1070 has been bad for business, communities, taxpayers, and law enforcement—just like other state and local initiatives that have attempted to control illegal immigration. The Center for American Progress’s analysis focusing exclusively on conference cancellations in Arizona resulting from the anti-immigrant legislation found a loss of $141 million in direct spending by convention attendees and more than a quarter billion dollars in lost economic output.

The ruling, coupled with the negative impact the law has already had on Arizona’s economy, should put to rest other states’ interests in similar measures. A patchwork of 50 different laws would deepen the problem of illegal immigration, not solve it.

This opinion highlights that all roads to immigration control lead inexorably back to Congress. It is high time for Congress to stop playing games and enact the type of broad reform our states and communities need.

We also would be remiss not to highlight a specific holding in the case that answers one of the most hotly contested legal questions of the last decade—whether state and local police officers possess inherent authority to enforce civil immigration laws. The court concludes, as we have argued, that no such authority exists: “We are not aware of any binding authority holding that states possess the inherent authority to enforce the civil provisions of federal immigration law—we now hold that states do not have such inherent authority.”

To speak with Angela M. Kelley or Marshall Fitz, Director of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202-481-8181 or Vanessa Cárdenas, Directora de Progress 2050, está disponible para brindar análisis sobre este tema en español.

For more on Arizona’s S.B. 1070: