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Arizona immigration-law supporters, opponents debate Supreme Court move

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the legal challenge to Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law S.B. 1070is taking center stage in the immigration debate, as supporters and opponents of the measure call on the court to rule in their favor.

The Supreme Court of the United States Blog wrote Monday: “Adding further to the historic rank of the Supreme Court’s current Term, the Justices on Monday took on the searing constitutional — and political — controversy over state power to strictly limit the way undocumented immigrants live their lives in the U.S.”

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) “welcomes the decision by the United States Supreme Court to review Arizona’s immigration enforcement law, SB 1070.” The group not only welcomed S.B. 1070 but also helped draft the law through its affiliate — the Immigration Reform Law Institute.

FAIR, according to Open Secrets, spent more than $3.4 million from 1998 through 2011 to lobby Congress on immigration-related legislation, like a proposed House GOP sponsored resolution that “would have prohibited the U.S. Department of Justice from using any funds to sue Arizona in an effort to strike down its new immigration enforcement law, SB 1070.”

“We believe that SB 1070 is a legitimate effort by a state to partner with the federal government in assisting in the enforcement of our immigration laws,” said FAIR President Dan Stein.

The National Immigration Forum wrote Monday: “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will clarify once and for all that only the federal government has the authority to create and enforce immigration law. We believe Arizona’s SB1070 is misguided and unconstitutional and expect the Supreme Court to use this opportunity to slam the brakes on other state-based immigration laws that are in conflict with our Constitution and core American values.”

According to Open Secrets, the Forum has spent more than $1.5 million since 1998 to lobby Congress on issues related to comprehensive immigration reform.

The American Spectator, a publication that “serves as a resource and an outlet for a host of both young and established conservative writers and thinkers” writes today: “Health care reform isn’t the only major policy battle the Obama administration will fight before the Supreme Court. The justices will also hear a case in which the Obama Justice Department asks them to overturn Arizona’s SB 1070, a controversial law empowering state and local police to detain suspected illegal immigrants in the course of their normal work.”

The Spectator, adds:

“We won 5 to 3 on the E-Verify case,” [former Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce, one of the architects of S.B. 1070,] says. “The same issues and constitutional principles are at stake here. I expect we’ll win 5 to 3 again.” (Justice Elena Kagan, the former solicitor general, recused herself in the last case and will do so again in the forthcoming one.) Indeed, the Supreme Court found that Arizona immigration law fell “well within the confines of the authority Congress chose to leave to the States.”

The National Council of La Raza ”hopes that by intervening in this case, the Supreme Court will affirm that the federal government is responsible for immigration enforcement and that states do not have the right to usurp that authority by establishing their own immigration laws.”

La Raza is a Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization that according to Open Secrets spent more than $5.6 million to lobby Congress from 1998 through 2011 on immigration, as well as other issues: the federal budget, economic development, education, health issues, housing and law enforcement and crime.

The Supreme Court of the United States Blog added: “The Arizona measure, and one in Alabama that goes even further, were passed by state legislatures with the specific intent of making life so difficult for undocumented aliens that they would choose to leave the state. Other states are also passing similar measures.”

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