July 28th, 2010
02:09 PM ET

Toobin: What does Arizona immigration ruling mean?

A federal judge has granted an injunction blocking enforcement of parts of a controversial immigration law in Arizona that is scheduled to go into effect Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton ruled the federal government "is likely to succeed" in its challenge of the legality of one of the most controversial sections of the Arizona law. That provision required police to "make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested" if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the United States illegally.

Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's senior legal analyst, spoke with T.J. Holmes on "CNN Newsroom" and offered his immediate reaction to the ruling and what it could mean for Arizona and other states.

What exactly did the judge rule?

The judge ruled that certain provisions are unconstitutional, but parts of the law she approved. The most controversial of which is the duty forced on law enforcement officers to determine if immigrants are people reasonably suspected of being illegal are in fact illegal. That has been struck down temporarily.

The judge said this - the requirement of law enforcement officials to essentially make all possibly illegal immigrants show their papers - is a violation of the separation of powers, a violation of federal sovereignty and federal control of immigration matters.

That argument was the one maintained by the Obama administration. Many civil rights groups argued it was simply discriminatory towards Hispanics.

The judge struck down the law on the ground that it was a violation of the federal control of immigration matters. That's why the controversial provision at least for the time being will not go into effect.

So what happens now?

Some of it will have to do with the legal strategy followed by the state of Arizona here. The state of Arizona could ask the judge to revisit the issue after more fact-finding. They could also go directly to the Court of Appeals - which is the next up in the federal court structure.

I think this is a case very much destined for United States Supreme Court. It is the kind of big issue relating to the responsibilities of state versus federal government on a very important matter, so it's likely, given how much attention this law received that other states will be passing similar laws. I think the Supreme Court will get involved probably next year. The issue that's up in the air is will the law be in effect while the appeals process goes forward? At the moment the answer is no - at least this one provision. But certainly an appeals process will begin. If not immediately, then soon.

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. A Concerned American

    What people haven't realized is that if this can happen in Arizona, it can easily happen in A state like Texas. whether there here legally or illegally, they will still take a job that majority of american citizens wouldn't dare to do, especially they pay. So many people want to say that since your not from Arizona, should not care was is passed or not passed. At the end of the day i am still from a mexico border state, so i will continue to give my opinions and comments. Stop condemning people who are just trying to give there families a better life, that's what America use to mean, a better life.

    July 29, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TDPSS

    Thanks so much for your coverage on the Az immigration issues. Your coverage is so well balance in showing the issues on both sides. I understand the frustrations of the citizens of Arizona much better. I think it's clear that securing the borders needs to be a very high priority. This issue needs to be de-politicized. Again, thanks

    July 30, 2010 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. Samuel Mungo

    The answer to immigration is a simple two-pronged approach.

    1) Hire 5 people, say at $50,000/year. Their job? Go to companies, stores, restuarants, farms unannounced, and fine the place $10,000 per illegal worker there. They get 24 hours to show the identified workers credentials, then the fine is levied. Believe me, in one day that place will have no more illegal workers. No illegal jobs, no illegal workers. To those who argue the out-of-business or skyrocketing prices point (No illegals=Americans who will ask a living wage=shut down business and/or huge price increases for products, such as $8 oranges) I say – will you pay $8 for an orange? I won't. I will avoid oranges. The producer of oranges, or someone who takes his/her place, will have to find a way to sell oranges at a price people will pay. And they will. It's called Free Enterprise, and it works really well. Imagine the large orange conglomerates going out of business, due to not being able to sustain the growth their stockholders expect, and they are replaced by-who? The family farmer, growing and selling locally, growing organically, and sustainably. We may have to go back to the days when you could only get fresh fruit in season, but I think we can live with that.

    2) What do the Illegal workers do without the jobs? They go back home, generally Mexico, and with US help force President Calderon to actually build an economy built on enterprises such as manufacturing, farming, etc. like the rest of the world, instead of on drugs and the American corporation to the North.

    No need for silly laws like the one in Arizona, no need for punishing folks coming over the border because they want to feed their families, no need for ridiculous walls around the country, no need for partisan horse crap in the Senate or House. And we save 10's of Billions of dollars.

    Fixed and done.

    July 31, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • GATKA2010

      One more time, Arizonians, those legal and CITIZENS of USA, blew this opportunity, and choose to discus on Internet , but to lazy or to scare to go on streets and show support for Governor Brewer and Immigration LAW. Get those illegals running back to their own COUNTRIES< get them OUT. Stop be so afraid and show, that we will defend this state and more states will fallow. Arizonian must show their power and show illegals, that they are not afraid. Check those latino policeman for corruption and support for cartels and illegals, they have no business to be members of Arizona police forces!!!!!

      July 31, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • john (biloxi,ms.

      Sammual... i commend you sir for you intelligent insight. you are oviously someone i would be proud to be in washington representing me to this facious government adminstration. you spoke more sense in your few sentences than any politician in washington. if more politicians had your frame of mind and sense of caring we the American people wouldn't be in the shape we're in... bravo sir for your insight and caring...

      August 11, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. GATKA2010

    Why only 100 supporters of Arizona LAW show up , why only 100 people find time to demonstrate in support for Governor Brewer, no wonder illegals are doing unopposed whatever they want,. Are people in Arizona do not understand that absence of physical support of immigration LAW and support for Mr.Brewer is gravely important for better Arizona and the whole USA???. It is Arizonians fault, they are to lazy and choose to talk on Blog instead go on streets and show illegals , WHO IS THE BOSS!!! Arizonians have a such great opportunity to get this LAW working fully, but they screw up!!!!

    July 31, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Fonzie

    Majority of legal Mexicans against SB 1070, because they are harboring illegal aliens. If this legal Mexicans are helping illegal aliens they are guilty as the tillegal aliens. It is Federal crime to stay illegally in America.

    August 1, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Myopinion57

    I wish Oregon, would do the same as Arizona....This Illegal Immigrant deal is so, out of control...Everyone is afraid to enforce our Laws! Every other country has Strict Laws on anyone Illegally entering their Country....Then here is America..A joke to most Mexican's legal or not.....They will tell you!! It's not just the poor field worker...It's Everybody good, bad, nuts, sneaking in to our Country..And we don't have a clue....We need to get strict!! No, exceptions.....And quit trying to be so, Politically Correct ......We need some control. And Obama's "Immigration Bill"????? Illegal Bill...Just want's back door Amnesty....As a matter of fact, So do the Illegal's!! You can see that on their signs....Demanding It!!?? What?? Our America...is sinking fast.....We need a strong President, that loves his Country.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
    • john (biloxi,ms.

      damn 57 i said that when this joke was running for el presidente...

      August 11, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. neovida

    I am the son of former illegal immigrants, but I agree that we need immigration reform. My opinion and frustration is that we all say our founding fathers this and our founding fathers that as if they were infallible gods. We forget that they were but human and were not perfect. We say illegal but that can be an arbitrary status if the law changes. Even if the 'good' hardworking illegals were to become citizens it would not change our individual lives at all. Yes criminals should be thrown out but we should not throw blind fear at something that we do not fully understand. It confuses and saddens me that we are all on both sides not willing to put ourselves in each others shoes basically: empathy. Plus the truth that exists within broken governments between ours and all of those south of the border. The secret almost invisible trail that shows greed and underhanded dealings between governments and businesses. We are attacking what we see but manage to miss the elusive yet real target which is the individual and the group combined. A sovereignty on different levels from a person to a cohort from socialism to capitalism from the powerful and the weak and from nationality to employer. I know it sounds like riddles but the truths are riddles with answers and riddles within every step gained.

    August 7, 2010 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
    • john (biloxi,ms.

      Nevonida............the key word we're speaking here is "illegal". most of the people in this country (me included) have nothing against anyone comming to this country to work and prosper. the the illegals in this country (which are not only mexican, just the majority are). there is a process as you know to enter any country, and these countries have laws against illegal entry. except this country if affraid to enforce theirs. affraid to offend someone or some country. but yet the real taxpayers are the ones who suffer. these illegals may pay taxes in some cases but most don't because they'll get caught and be deported. you as an American know that we are in hardtimes here, jobs are in short supply. and 12,000,000 more jobs would be available if the "illegals" weren't here. these are supposedly jobs the American people don't want. but the cold hard facts are that these positions are taken by "illegal immigrants who are in this country illegally"... i realize that these people need to work and support their families just as you and i do, but they need to do it the right way, and not wait for this president to give them an imaginary handout just to get their votes...

      August 11, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. john (biloxi,ms.

    beings this adminstration has a problem with enforcing the laws that are on the books and won't allow anyone else to do so, and has no intention of securing our boarders i then porpose this solution that will not only make obama and his adminstration happy but it will halt the president of mexico from comming to our country and trashing us in fromt of out joint sessions of congress and getting another standing ovation for doing so.......(solution)...first, lets abolish all illegal immigration laws we americans have on our books. then letd adopt and enact, word for word, the mexican immigragion policies. (you have to read this one folks) this will enable the united states to keep in el president"s good graces and keep him from comming here again and talking down to the American people. in turn it will make our own el presidente and his adminstration as well as the house and senate happy because we agree with the kinder mexico and wish to kiss their butt and be like them. but before you agree of disagree with this proposal you must read the mexicam immigration laws first. it will only take the average person 30 or so minutes to do. then go to your lawmakers in your state and tell them weither or not you want this immigration law as ours.......

    August 11, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    The whole country needs to follow what Arizona is doing regarding this problem, period. The Feds are wrong not Arizona. Someone has to the job the Feds are not doing but being paid to do. They have failed on so many levels and anyone with a luke warm IQ can see that.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Spence40

    I am wondering how long it will be before it occurs to the entire Nation that Federal Judges have gotten completely out of control. A Louisiana Federal Judge actually nixed a Presidential Executive Order on Offshore Drilling. A California judge overturned the Prop. 8 election results, and now a Judge is telling a governor what she can and cannot do. I would have loved a Federal Judge to do that to President Truman or even President Reagan. Judges should not have the power to okay or nix laws by anyone until they are legitimately appealed and brought before their courts. This entire process is a violation of separation of powers and is actually making the Judicial Branch the lawmakers instead of those elected to do that job...

    September 4, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steve

    Our goverment does not care about it's legal tax paying citizens, that should be very obvious to everyone. I hear people complain about being harassed for being hispanic, B.S. Everyone is required to carry ID and if you have ID it will show if you are legal or not. I have lived in several different countries and that is how it works only if you don't have ID in those countries you will have a problem. This not a race thing it is a legal thing, who has a problem with that other than illegals of course. I don't think most people know how serious a problem this really is other than AZ.

    September 13, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Roge Canevari

    I know.. Maybe O'Donnell can cast a spell and banish Karl Rove and Senator John McCain from the Kingdom forever.....
    McCain cant run his own state correctly and yet somehow he thinks he can run the Country..Republicans... remember a filibuster works both ways !

    September 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Keithmj

    In Florida you are required to have proper ID on you at all times and needs to be shown when asked for. And people are mixing illegal immigrants and legal immigrants together as one, so what part of illegal don't people understand? Legal immigrants have our blessing to come into the country but illegal immigration should not be allowed. illegal means "GET OUT" and come into our country legally. And just because they are nice people the way they are coming into our country shows that they have no respect for the American laws. They don't want to be American citizens, they just want the benefits that they can get from us and some have even said that. I support Arizona for what they are doing and I hope that Florida gets smart and does the same thing, maybe after the state goes broke supporting them will they do something.

    October 2, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
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