Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said today the Supreme Court decision concerning Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration lawwill not interfere with the Obama administration’s recent decision to not deport certain illegals under the age of 30. Instead she says her agency will continue to focus prioritizing the removal of certain aliens.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Section Two of Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law granting granted the state and local police authority to check the immigration status of aliens who they reasonably believe are in the country illegally. The high Court, however, struck down parts of the Arizona statute that allowed the state to impose its own penalties for violations of immigration laws.
“I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that state laws cannot dictate the federal government’s immigration enforcement policies or priorities. DHS remains focused on enhancing public safety and the integrity of our border by prioritizing enforcement resources on those who are in the country unlawfully and committing crimes, those who have repeatedly violated our immigration laws, and those who recently crossed our borders illegally,” said Napolitano in a statement released after the court ruling.
“The Court’s decision not to strike down Section Two at this time will make DHS’ work more challenging. Accordingly, DHS will implement operational enhancements to its programs in Arizona to ensure that the agency can remain focused on its priorities,” she said. “Over the past three and half years, this Administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border and to enforcing our nation’s immigration laws in a firm and reasonable fashion.” she added.
Napolitano made it clear that the President’s recent decision to issue an executive order banning the prosecution of at least 800,000 illegals was still a priority. “We continue to urge Congress to pass comprehensive reform because nothing short of a comprehensive solution will resolve the current patchwork of immigration laws,” she said. “Finally, it is important to note that today’s Supreme Court decision will not impact the memorandum I issued on June 15th related to prosecutorial discretion eligibility for productive members of society who were brought to the United States as children.”
The Washington Times today quoted anonymous Obama administration sources that indicated standing agreements by the federal government with Arizona police dealing with the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws are soon to be suspended. The same sources say that DHS has also issued a guideline directing federal authorities to ignore calls from Arizona that report illegal aliens.
During a telephone briefing, one official said, “We will not be issuing detainers on individuals unless they clearly meet our defined priorities”. The official said that despite the increased number of calls, presumably meaning more illegal immigrants are being reported, Homeland Security is unlikely to detain a significantly higher number of people and won’t be boosting personnel to handle the new calls. “We do not plan on putting additional staff on the ground in Arizona,” the official said.
Administration officials confirmed that President Obama’s decision to limit which illegals are deported and which will be allowed to stay in the country will not be affected by the Supreme Court decision.
In essence, the Obama administration made it clear today that the Supreme Court decision will in no way affect its decision to refuse to enforce standing immigration laws.