July 30th, 2010
12:07 PM ET

Arizona can prevail on immigration law

Michael Hethmon
Special to CNN

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/07/30/hethmon.arizona.ruling/t1larg.az.border.patrol.agent.afpgi.jpg caption="A U.S. Border Patrol agent checks vehicles arriving from Mexico near Nogales, Arizona, on July 28." width=300 height=169]

A district judge on Wednesday preliminarily barred the enforcement of two sections and two subsections of Arizona's new immigration law, SB 1070.

As was the case with the public reaction after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law on April 23, we are again seeing wild claims about the matter - in this case, about Judge Susan Bolton's order.

Commentators are making overblown statements about the judge's order without having actually read it. As a lawyer who supports the enactment of state laws that promote comprehensive immigration enforcement, I offer this initial analysis to the beleaguered voters of Arizona:

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Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • Opinion
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Lynne Wiss

    I am tired of the people say it is like Nazi Germany when hispanic need to shhow their papers. What if the border patrol see a Mexican crossing the border the police should kill the dead. That will be Germany. Maybe that should law, the the illeagals will not try to cross into America. Sheriff Joe is fully right, he is upholding the law. Keep pitching tents and putting them in the pen. They are breaking the law. If a mexican wants to go into America. They should wait 5 yrs, theyt should know how to write, speak, read the English language. If mexican parents enter America live here if they have a child the child should be considered a mexican hte parents are here illeagally and the child as well. Deport them...

    August 2, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  2. WayneMO93

    The Federal Government seems to be waiting for the problem to reach the DC area. As with a flood, it's not my problem yet. As with so many other problems we have in the US, it's a problem only when it reaches my neighborhood.

    August 1, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  3. Looney4Clooney

    I think people are taking sb-1070 to far they are all concerned about racial profiling when that's not even the issue They need to grow up and understand the law in the right way it's not fair that an illegal person can come to arizona and get a job that could belong to a person on the street who is an American citizen or to a veteran who served for this country

    August 1, 2010 at 3:55 am |
  4. Maria

    What most people who are against Arizona's new law forget to mention is that illegal immigration is a crime and secondly it has put a massive burden on Arizona! Sure I feel for the children that many main media stations focus on, but they are in this situation because their parents chose to break our laws; we didn't force them over the border. We have an immigration system that many people use and I do not know a single person who used this system that is against Arizona. We our a country of laws and why should some people be allowed to break them and then rewarded for doing so over and over. They ignore our laws and enter our country illegally, drain our public resources, demand rights as they wave their country's flag. Maybe they should fight this hard to change their own country and I don't just mean Mexico, because there are illegals from all over!
    I'm fed up with the excuse that they are here to do the jobs Americans will not! Have you seen our unemployment rates? Give me a break! And they use more of the public resources than they contribute.

    The federal government has failed to do their job and secure the border! This is not a race issue like many public figures are making it out to be for political gains, it's a safety issue first and foremost! Have they just forgotten about 911! There are people who want to do us harm! The people crossing the borders are not just hard working, good people. We need to secure both our borders, but we need to begin with our southern border. The Mexican drug cartels are a real threat not to mention the hundreds of thousands of unknowns that cross!

    The DOJ should be suing the sanctuary cities that are breaking our federal laws instead of Arizona which is just upholding them! I hope more states follow Arizona's lead! And maybe Arizona should sue the federal government for willingly turning a blind eye and not upholding the laws they are responsible for upholding!

    August 1, 2010 at 12:01 am |
  5. Karen

    I was hoping to find the news item I caught a part of last night... I was half asleep and therefore didn't get as much of it as I would've liked. The reporter was picking grapes with the Mexican, possibly Mexican American pickers that had been doing it for over 30 years...
    I'd merely like to point out that despite the pickers AND their supervisor stating that not one white American citizen had even applied for field work in over 30 years, I can remember, yes, over 30 years ago, but I do recall that those types of jobs were typically filled by teenagers, college kids between semesters. It just bothers me enormously when I recall how much difficulty my own children had (9 years ago) when they were job hunting. It is true that these migrant workers don't make very much money and I hate to think of them being unable to feed their LARGE families, but I do believe if America put more of the American teenagers to work it would solve many issues... idle teenagers, illegal activities, poverty...

    July 31, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  6. vpereira

    I think Joe Arpaio is doing his job. I am an immigrant in this country and I hate say this but U.S. Government no has no control of this situation. It is getting more bad every day, I am sad see what this country is turn and no one doing much at all. Ten years a go when I come was totally different that is now and that time or now I still think the border should be better control. If the police stop someone because traffic violation or any other violation of the U.S. law or rules and no have no legal documentation and is illegal this person should be send back their country after words. This is the right think to do.
    U.S. police job is asked for documentation for anyone? If ask me for my document and I don’t have any identification I should be investigate anyways. So what illegal immigrant complaint off? We are immigrant and we were come to this country and fake Social Security numbers to work we are doing false documentation what is illegal and who do that in my country need be in jail. Why here no put in jail no only that person fakes documentation but the impresarios, executives all people hiring an illegal immigrants. Again I am immigrant but the law is the law and come illegal and think we are right is ridicules.

    July 31, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  7. mojojoot

    I was watching your TV program on border battle. You portrayed illegals as not taking American jobs in the farm field because Americans didn't want that job. I challenge you to go to Harrah's Cherokee Casino in NC at the new hotel they are building, a twenty story hotel, 70 % of the workers are illegals taking good paying jobs from people, including me who lost his electrician job making 18.00 to illegals who work for 9.00. All the sheet rock is being done by illegals, painters etc, I challenge you to go all over the construction, industry in NC, my brother is a mason and cannot find a job for 1 1/2 years , however the jobs I work on all the masons are illegals, now they have infiltrated my trade and I am a reduction in force while illegals still remain on the job of Little Rock Electric. ICE is a joke.

    July 31, 2010 at 3:06 am |
  8. Michelle

    Anderson, the supporters of Arizona 1070 are clearly racist. How can anyone tell the difference between an "illegal" immigrant and a US citizen who is Hispanic? Be honest. If their skin is brown, if their hair and eyes are dark, and if their English sounds funny. Hum? it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is racial profiling. How about the sheriff who said he did not care about the cost of putting them in jail. It does not make sense when handing them over to ICE means NO COST. I take this personal. I am a US born citizen who went to college, pays taxes, has never committed a crime, and volunteers often. I am also "Hispanic" and feel that Arizona 1070 is a slap to my face. I love my country and it is the only place I feel it's home. I feel as if those "good citizen" awards I received in grammar school will not matter if I am asked "are you legal?" because I know it will be due to the color of my skin. I was raised thinking that someone's skin color is irrelevant and what matters in a person is who they are. I love CNN and I think you are handsome, articulate, and smart 🙂

    July 31, 2010 at 2:11 am |
  9. Teri Key, Ph.D.

    Anderson Cooper, about 5-6 years ago, the undercover Mesa police and FBI can to my home and attempted to arrest me, handcuffing me, believing me to be a drug dealer. I thought they were some crazy people. Fortunately, I had someone with me who I told to call the police, while I attempted to let the police know this was a mistake. They evidently thought I was a drug pusher, most definitely a mistaken identity. Finally, one of them said I think we have the wrong person. At this time, they asked me my social security which was different from who they were looking for and showed me a picture of the suspect which clearly did not look at me. I share this story because I am a 50 year old WASP so evidently in my case there wasn't racial profiling. They let me go without arrest and with apologies. At the time, I wondered if it would go differently if I were a minority but at least in my case there were treating this WASP like a criminal.

    July 31, 2010 at 1:52 am |
  10. Gary Lee

    If it's against the law to cross the American border then It's iilegal, Period!!! So the bleeding hearts like Al Sharpton thinks that it's okay to break the LAW?? this guy is a baffoon!! What gives Sharpton the right to decide what is a real law and what isn't, what's next, drug dealers are okay if they're illegal aliens from Mexico who are not paying taxes and yet are receiving all of the services that only taxpayers should receive. If it isn't a problem for Sharpton, GET HIM to pay for these people, let him pick up the extra costs that illegal aliens cause to the economy.

    July 31, 2010 at 1:39 am |
  11. Mack

    Anderson, if the cops stop me for speeding and ask to see my insurance card, wouldn't that be considered "financial responsibility profiling?"

    July 31, 2010 at 1:32 am |
  12. Lisa St Paul, MN

    The key word is illegal. This issue has not been dealt with by neither Democrats or republicans. I don't like the way Arizona has gone about enacting the 1070 but I don't like the way our federal politicians have kept away from it. They need to deal with it now. I don't think amnesty is the answer either.

    July 31, 2010 at 12:25 am |
  13. ann

    I am a naturalized US citizen – born in Mexico & of Mexican decent. I came here @ the age of 6 legally. Why is there a double standard & illegals do not have to follow US immigration laws? I don't live on a border state, but if I did I would not mind carrying my US passport to prove my us citizenship if it helped the enormous violent problem caused by human trafficking & illegal drugs on both sides of the border - for me that would be a small price to pay to assist US citizens of our border states who are going through exceptionally terrifying times.

    July 31, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  14. Bryan

    Part of the problem is there is no detterant keeping people out of jail. They get their ganster lifestyle with all expenses paid. Prisoners should be made to do jobs that americans won't do.

    July 30, 2010 at 11:46 pm |
  15. Renee

    I live in Texas, and there are many people of mexican decent that have white skin and blue eyes, until they speek-you may not know that they are actually Mexican citizens (and proud of it). Many second generation hispanics can speek perfect english and perfect spanish. So a white person may actually be a mexican.. How about that...

    July 30, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
  16. George Schultz

    Anderson: I have listened to all the hogwash about AZ SB1070. How come these people who have a lot to say have very little knowledge of our immigration system. My wife was an English subject until she was Nationalized. You would not believe how many times she was asked for identification and her "green card". We traveled constantly between Maine and Florida and her accent gave her away. When she showed her identification I was asked to produce mine. I have carried a copy of my birth certificate in my wallet for over 50 years. It was not inconvenient to me and took very little space. So what is the big problem? I would say it is just ignorance and those who are guilty that are afraid of being caught. My wife was continually singled out because of her British accent. Is this racial profiling? Only the guilty plead that.

    George Schultz
    Salem, OR.

    July 30, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  17. Native American-No Papers!

    I would never ever go vacay in Arizona!
    My car is in good condition, I don't speed. BUT I fear I would be picked on. I have beautiful olive tan skin. Long black hair with brown eyes. I don't have "papers/green card".

    I would make a BIG scene because I would be insulted to be picked on because of the way I look. I am Native American. But, sure I would get picked up by some racist cop like that Racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Who will end up in hell when he tries to reach the pearly gates someday!

    July 30, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  18. Michelle

    Okay, if you're a illegal immigrate, how are you paying taxes. You have to have a social security card to pay taxes. Last I heard, you can't get a social security card if you not a CITIZEN of the US. Perhaps, that's why we have such a problem with identify theft.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
  19. Twizzler

    Why not set up a location that illegal immigrants can go to and register, something to at least start the process of becoming legal.
    If they are illegal then they obviously broke the law, but because of the high numbers i think some kind of encouragement to get them registered would be a start. Offer them an incentive to get them to register perhaps?
    I really, really get sick and tired of hearing these words 'racial profiling' . Come on people, get real, we have differences that are obvious. But people like Al Sharpton like to keep it going.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  20. wizowl

    Dee, illegals don't pay taxes but they are on welfare and other free services that American citizens who have always worked and paid taxes can' ever qualified for. You only see illegals in the welfare offices, county services. Don't take my word for it go see for yourself.

    Long story short they are here illegal which means they broke the law by coming here and ALL of them need to be rounded up and sent home. They have and are still ruining the lives of citizens. And you, bleeding heart, go with them. Why do they want to be here if we don't want them. We are sick of their junky culture turning Los Angeles into a Shanty town with wall-to-wall people jammed into our neighborhoods.

    There is more to this than breaking and entering. Bottom line the plan agreed upon by Bush, Fox and the Canadian president is to do away with borders altogether and make the U.S., Canada, and Mexico a Union. The U. S. is no longer a sovereign nation. Checkout/goole the secret meeting between these three entities held in Waco TX on March 23, 2005 and see what they secretly cooked up for the rest of to satisfy the Corporations.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  21. Dolores

    I just saw you news on the illegal being pulled over because he had expired tags or registration. Well, let me see. He has been here for 20 years, illegally. That means he has been driving without a drivers license, paying car insurance, and keeping his tags and registration paid. Tell me how that is ok or racist?

    July 30, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  22. sima

    until America offers free incentives the illegals will come and we will pay more taxes to cover the bills, and with amnesty how are we going to afford paying SSI and unemployment to million more people who never paid taxes,

    July 30, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
  23. Elizabeth


    I feel, as my mother does, that you are very fair in your questions. You do not show bias one way or the other–and you are thorough in your questions.

    On this subject of immigration, I am biased though. If we put the illegals in our jails, we (tax-payers) pay for their 3 meals a day, clothing, housing (jail space), and other expenses. Why can't we send them back to where they came from (which is another expense, but less expensive than housing them).

    July 30, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  24. P. Boykin

    Has anyone thought to ask what the president of Mexico thinks or is doing about this matter..How is it handled when they are sent back to Mexico...I believe our country should hold Mexicos President accountable for not helping his country...here's a thought, how about we just take over that country like we have done in the last few years...that could mean more tax money for the US Goverment, we are in the negative, right?

    July 30, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  25. kent

    The CNN immigration correspondent claims that crime has decreased in Arizona during recent years. I wonder whether this statistic includes the crime that is committed just by being in the country illegally. Being here illegally is by definition a crime. It should not be excluded from crime statistics just to support an implied argument that illegal immigrants may somehow be reducing crime.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  26. frank

    Let's try to avoid all this complicated "human rights" issue and reasons for being in someone else country uninvited and just
    take the simple approach of your home;

    You arrive home tonight and find a group of people sitting on your sofa or around your dinner table. They simply say to you; "we like your home better than ours and we decided to move in with you"

    What would you do?

    As for asking documentation, today alone I have been asked for it three times; At the bank (picture ID and S/S. At a store for a purchase over $250 and by the airline in boarding an airplane for a 20 minute flights. I didn't think it was a big deal and I complied. What's the problem? Can someone explain it to me? Thank you

    July 30, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  27. AAn

    If State such as Arizona can enforce the law that not their jurisdiction, then anyone can enforce their own law if they assume State or Federal not doing the job. This is anarchy attitude. Anyone can bring gun to kill someone or act something if they assume the local or federal government does not doing the job.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  28. Jeff from Illinois

    Sheriff Arpaio has my respect because he treats criminals as just that, criminals. His approach would SEEM to be common sense. Law enforcement should have the right to establish identification for any person guilty of a criminal offense.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  29. beall

    Augsbee, i hear your point, but the point really is is that native American Indians were given privilege of citizenship while Mexicans were not. native American Indians as well as Mexicans are native to the Americas and yet citizenship was handled differently to the north than it was to the south. So if the same privilege of citizenship was granted to the Mexicans as it was to the Native American Indians this discussion wouldn't actually be happening at all today.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  30. Chris

    I commend the sheriff for his willingness to appear routinely on the program with Anderson. Anderson, you always criticized BP for not appearing; hopefully you appreciate the sheriff's appearances.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  31. Jeff Hunter from Illinois

    @Denis: well said!!!

    July 30, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  32. Jeff Hunter from Illinois

    @Dee: There have been many, many stories about families and individuals having to leave AZ because of the law. If US citizen lawbreakers are shopping (buying clothes, groceries, cars, electronics and the like) are they still worthy of the same considerations? Would you say forget about putting these criminals in jail but please do a story on them? Thesee people are criminals! !!
    Plain and simple!!!

    July 30, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  33. Dee

    Your reporting on illegal immigration is way too one sided.
    You need to also report on the immigrants that are helping the country by paying taxes, going to stores hence buying clothes, groceries, cars, electronics and the like and because of that are keeping Americans in jobs. What about those that have contributed to social security that will never draw from it?
    Anderson, your famous line is keeping them honest right? Well let’s keep it not only honest but real.

    July 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  34. Augsbee

    Anderson, if Native American Indians have to abide, follow the rules of their/our country/land why then shouldn't Mexicans, Latin Americans, Cubans, Dominicans, Germans, Russians, Irish, English, Spaniards, Swedish, etc...have to abide, follow the rules of our country????
    I really wish you would touch on this subject because I don't get it.

    July 30, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  35. Denis Quinlan

    When the media (incl. CNN) refers to something as "controversial," as they have been doing with Arizona 1070, that usually means they are AGAINST it. I was pleasantly surprised last night, therefore, to see the fair and unbiased report on citizens of that state who SUPPORT the new law on immigration. The law is imperfect and should not have had to happen in the first place. The people of that state need a break.
    When it comes to dealing effectively with the problem of illegal immigration our elected leaders can't seem to summon up the courage required to lead – and so the problem goes on, and on, and on ...

    July 30, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  36. Richard

    Anderson, thank you for such continued great reporting. You never let anyone down and keep them all honest. Just brilliant.

    July 30, 2010 at 12:37 pm |