The Supreme Court has struck down portions of Arizona’s SB 1070 – the controversial immigration law that targets undocumented migrant workers. The Court ruled that federal law preempted sections that allowed for arrests without warrants, required immigrants to carry “alien registration documents,” and made it a criminal offense for undocumented workers to work or solicit work.
Even though the Court upheld a section that requires police officers to check immigration status, these significant revisions are still a modest victory for free market immigration reformers. The ruling restricts state attempts to create further punishments for peaceful migrants who seek work from American employers. Unfortunately, the law will continue to limit American citizens’ freedom of association by criminalizing those who “employ, harbor, or transport” unauthorized workers. Moreover, even with the revisions, the law still poses a significant threat to civil liberties, as I’ve written about here – an issue that may be addressed by a pending ACLU lawsuit.
Ultimately, however, immigration reformers must recognize that the real source America’s broken immigration system is federal laws that make legal entry nearly impossible for migrant workers and the U.S. employers that hire them. Federal and state laws that continue to reinforce this fundamentally anti–free market system hurt America’s economy by limiting productivity, forcing employers to expand overseas, and driving up prices for all Americans. One estimate has placed the cost to Arizona at around $50 billion. Real reform means less regulation and more freedom.
Read a summary of everything in the law here.