Immigration: Supreme Court's Arizona-law ruling meaningless, says Tom Tancredo
As we reported yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of SB-1070, Arizona's controversial immigration law, but left standing the "show me your papers" provision, which lets officers ask about the immigration status of those found to be suspicious. Many local immigration activists were upset by this last development -- but Tom Tancredo, among the best-known advocates for a stricter system, says the fed's lack of cooperation makes the ruling largely inconsequential.
"I think it's encouraging for both sides," Tancredo allows. "Both sides can go away from this saying, 'We won something here.' But my gut tells he it doesn't really matter."
Why? Tancredo's answer turns on his critical view of the Obama administration's current immigration polices.
"Although [Arizona governor] Jan Brewer is saying it's a great win for Arizona, the reality is this: A policeman in Arizona can legally stop someone on whatever grounds, and if they do, and if they have suspicions this person is here illegally, they can detain him and call ICE" -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a federal agency. "And you know what it means in reality to call ICE and say, 'I have someone I think is here illegally'? Nothing. Nothing is done about it.
A photo from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.
"It isn't as if ICE will all of a sudden be right at the jail to snap people up and deport them, unless there's another crime that has been committed that meets a certain standard of heinousness," Tancredo continues. "Unless it's a very, very serious crime, ICE is going to say, 'This person is probably illegal? Well, thanks for calling.' So it's a victory without much meaning."
To illustrate his argument, Tancredo points to the decision yesterday by Homeland Security to revoke what are known as 287(g) agreements in Arizona and beyond. Tancredo describes them like so: "Let's say Lakewood entered into a written agreement that the local authority would ID the people they've got in custody through ICE, and ICE promised to come and get them. If you had this agreement, you sort of felt ICE was bound by it.... But now, Homeland Security has reneged on those agreements -- and if the federal government doesn't want to enforce the law, it doesn't matter what the Supreme Court has done. There are no consequences, and we're stuck with the dictator-in-chief."
Click to continue reading our interview with Tom Tancredo about the Supreme Court's SB-1070 ruling.