Reaction to SB1070: Legislators favorable on ruling, critical of Obama
State and federal legislators who represent Yavapai County didn't attack the U.S. Supreme Court for rejecting three of the four key provisions of Arizona's SB1070 immigration law Monday.
They generally called it a favorable ruling since it upholds the ability of Arizona law enforcement officers to verify that people are in the U.S. legally when they already are being detained.
While they didn't criticize the Supreme Court, they roundly criticized the Obama administration for suing Arizona in the first place, and accused it of poor border enforcement.
"Arizona was forced to take up the fight to secure its borders because the federal government has repeatedly let down our state and its citizens," U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, said in a written statement. "The consequences of our unsecure border and lax immigration enforcement include border violence, drug and gun smuggling and increased crime throughout our state."
Arizona Senate President Steve Pierce, R-Prescott, said Arizona still needs more Border Patrol agents as well as Customs and Border Security agents.
He said illegal immigration "overburdens our corrections system, strains local budgets and leads to increased costs on our citizens for vital services such as health care and education."
Pierce compared the immigration issue to the forest health issue.
"Perhaps now we can deal with the issue as a sovereign state, just as we should be able to with the mismanagement of our forests," Pierce said. "Natural resources are going up in smoke due to even more of the feds' inability to do what is right."
The state wouldn't have SB1070 if the Obama administration had done its job, said Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden.
"Unfortunately, the Obama administration has chosen to selectively enforce the law and aggressively subvert the state of Arizona as we strove to fill the enforcement gaps," Tobin said.
Arizona Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, noted that the ruling upholds employers' rights to check the immigration status of new employees.
"I think the Supreme Court got it right," said Fann, a local business owner.
Shortly after the court announced the ruling, the Obama administration rescinded agreements with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office and other state and local law agencies that allowed them to get special training and arrest people for violating federal immigration laws.
Pierce issued a second, much stronger statement Monday after that action, saying the Obama administration was "acting more like a spoiled child than a president."
Other states have similar agreements with the feds but the administration tore up only one, Pierce said.
"This reckless decision by the Obama administration lays bare its real focus," Pierce said. "Instead of making the safety of Americans a priority, the administration is all about politics, hoping to secure points with certain communities."