Law Professors Say AZ SB 1070 Unconstitutional + More Protest and Coalition Building

April 26th, 2010 · 39 Comments

It seems that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and her counterparts in the Arizona legislature who were pushing SB 1070 didn’t bother to consult some of the nation’s preeminent law professors who went on record this weekend saying that the law is unconstitutional.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports:

“It sounded to the Law Blog like we were heading toward a big federalism showdown. So we turned to Karl Manheim of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and Erwin Chemerinsky of UC Irvine Law to pregame it for us. Their response: the law is DOA.

The Arizona law appears to be ‘facially unconstitutional,’ Manheim said. ‘States have no power to pass immigration laws because it’s an attribute of foreign affairs. Just as states can’t have their own foreign policies or enter into treaties, they can’t have their own immigration laws either.'”

The cost of signing an unconstitutional bill that will be challenged in the courts, not to mention the PR headache for the state of Arizona with planned boycotts, could be quite significant. However, there is another opportunity for grassroots movement building, more specifically black-brown coalitions.

New America Media reports that yesterday:

“More than 3,000 people demonstrated outside the state capitol and hundreds gathered at the church to protest the law. Human rights activists, religious leaders and congressmen called for peaceful mobilizations, boycotts and, if necessary, civil disobedience to stop the legislation they believe would lead to racial profiling, unsafe communities and economic turmoil.

Several voices from the African-American community and other ethnic minorities joined the fight, sending a message of unity at a time when the state faces a divisive immigration debate.

‘We here in Arizona are witnessing the historic and necessary 21st century awakening of the spirit of the civil rights movement,’ said Rev. Warren Stewart, to an audience of 300 people at the First Institutional Baptist Church. Other speakers included mayor Phil Gordon and Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, D- Ill.

‘Where do we go from here — chaos or community?’ Stewart asked, citing the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘I offer this to be our response: non-violent direct action.'”

I certainly welcome the African-American community in this fight in Arizona. It could only strengthen the movement to raise awareness for just and humane immigration reform and for an end to policies that profile and marginalize our communities. I also think that coalition building like this will better get the attention of President Obama and his administration, but I do believe that he is more than well informed about what his happening in Arizona.

Tags: African-Americans · Barack Obama · Civil Rights · Immigration

39 responses so far ↓

  • 1 irma // Apr 26, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Yes, Arizona SB 1070 may ultimately serve to unify Americans of color (any color) all over the United States, as we come together to combat this law.

    It also forces the Federal Government to come up with a better solution towards protecting American and Mexican citizens from the crime associated with drug trafficking.

    So, thank you Arizona, for forcing the Obama administration to bring immigration reform to the front of the bus.

  • 2 BettyM // Apr 26, 2010 at 11:27 am

    It will be very interesting to see what happens in Arizona. This is about civil rights. I am quite frankly not too happy that I may have to travel through Arizona soon – I know by the actions of
    their leaders I am not welcome.

  • 3 MDC // Apr 26, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    If you not a citizen of the united states ,you don’t have any rights here !!!

  • 4 chalan // Apr 26, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    This will be ruled unconstitutional, and most Arizonians know it. What this shows is the bigotry that is part of daily life in Arizona(ask any Navajo). I too, will fill my gas tank in either Needles or Gallup and not stop nor spend a dime in Arizona or find alternative routes bypassing Arizona. I will also influence my circle of professionals not to schedule meeting or conferences in Arizona.

  • 5 irma // Apr 26, 2010 at 4:27 pm


    You are seriously mentally disabled.
    Do you think you have rights in other countries?
    Of course you do, so it follows that people who are in the US (by whatever means) have rights.
    SB 1070 takes away rights from American citizens, but apparently even the Governor of
    Arizona is too stupid to know that.

  • 6 Hector // Apr 26, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    How to boycott Arizona? Was the question a SF supervisor asked and I know I will do my part and never go on Vacation to Arizona!!!

  • 7 OCC // Apr 26, 2010 at 5:19 pm


    That’s a lame comment even a non citizen has human rights. This Arizona law (SB 1070) sure highlights the stupidity that exists in the state.

  • 8 stephen // Apr 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    MDC, thats just stupid. Not only are you factually incorrect, but you can’t even write a coherent sentence correctly.

  • 9 stopdainsanity2 // Apr 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Children are Watching

    by stopdainsanity2

    When I entered kindergarten – I was put into a class for the mentally retarded. Because my skin was brown my teacher assumed I did not speak English and required special bilingual support which was not available at the time. Yes – I was a Mexican-American citizen child AND I spoke English.

    It literally took 2 weeks for my parents to force the school to place me in the mainstream kindergarten class — even though I could respond to questions in English. At the time if was easier for frustrated- overworked teachers (not bad people) to send me to the special needs class – no questions asked – based on my skin color. Although the error was corrected, as a child I never lost the feeling I was not welcomed and somehow my rights as a citizen were not equal to those of white americans. Be careful – children are watching.

  • 10 What the ... // Apr 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Come on everbody, if you drive a vehicle you must carry a driver’s license. You can’t move around Europe without a passport. In fact in Mexico, it is a felony to be in the country illegally, the law also ensures that:
    • immigration authorities have a record of each foreign visitor;
    • foreign visitors do not violate their visa status;
    • foreign visitors are banned from interfering in the country’s internal politics;
    • foreign visitors who enter under false pretenses are imprisoned or deported;
    • foreign visitors violating the terms of their entry are imprisoned or deported;
    • those who aid in illegal immigration will be sent to prison.
    The Mexican constitution strictly defines the rights of citizens – and the denial of many fundamental rights to noncitizens,illegal and illegal. Under the constitution, the Ley General de Población, or General Law on Population, spells out specifically the country’s immigration policy. Remember human right are different from citizen rights.
    Mexican authorities must also keep track of every single person in the country:
    • Federal, local and municipal police must cooperate with federal immigration authorities upon request, i.e., to assist in the arrests of illegal immigrants. (Article73)
    • A National Population Registry keeps track of “every single individual who comprises the population of the country,” and verifies each individual’s identity. (Articles 85 and 86)
    • A national Catalog of Foreigners tracks foreign tourists and immigrants (Article 87), and assigns each individual with a unique tracking number (Article 91). Foreigners with fake papers, or who enter the country under false pretenses, may be imprisoned:
    • Foreigners with fake immigration papers may be fined or imprisoned. (Article 116)
    • Foreigners who sign government documents “with a signature that is false or different from that which he normally uses” are subject to fine and imprisonment. (Article 116)
    Foreigners who fail to obey the rules will be fined, deported, and/or imprisoned as felons:
    • Foreigners who fail to obey a deportation order are to be punished. (Article 117)
    • Foreigners who are deported from Mexico and attempt to re-enter the country without authorization can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. (Article 118)
    • Foreigners who violate the terms of their visa may be sentenced to up to six years in prison (Articles 119, 120 and 121). Foreigners who misrepresent the terms of their visa while in Mexico – such as working with out a permit – can also be imprisoned.
    I don’t see anybody complaining about the inherent racism in Mexico, maybe you should. America has always been a country of tolerance but now it is being raped and needs to be protected…

  • 11 god loves you // Apr 26, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    It is so sad to see this happen in this “Great Country” where the unalienable rights are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness, how can people have a “life” when they don’t have the “Liberty” to pursue what they came to this country for! How can people make that Nonsense a law? These “highly educated” people need to take a class or two in coming back to earth and not forget that they too are human and that just because they have the power to make these “laws” it doesn’t make them better than other people. They need to go over MORALS and STOP giving incentives for discrimination and hatred. This country should be going in a whole different direction in regards to immigration, it should be an example to other countries on how to welcome immigrants and how to make a civilized society of different backgrounds work together and live in peace not try to destroy each other by making one feel lower than others! But, this is “their country” and that’s what they want, that’s what they are willing to teach their kids, to live with that hate in their hearts towards people who have never done something to hurt them and don’t even want to, their kids “the future of this country” would have witnessed all this and probably enforce the same law in their life’s and discriminate against anyone because that’s how they were brought up. Anyways, please people we are humans, all of us no matter from what part of the earth, we are all here for the same reason, we all need to be treated equally and with respect….. remember someone is watching you from up above!

  • 12 Anna // Apr 26, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Re: “America has always been a country of tolerance but now it is being raped and needs to be protected”

    The banksters are raping it. They have stolen billions from this country and countries all over the world, but I don’t see the government putting them in jail.

    Brewer signed this law as an election year gimmick. The housing crisis has destroyed Arizona’s economy and she needs a scapegoat. If American citizens with brown skin are wrongly detained she couldn’t care less. In fact, she will probably round up brown Americans on election day.

    She is an idiot who will further ruin her state’s economy because normal people don’t want to work or do business in a police state.

  • 13 irma // Apr 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

    What the ….,
    You miss the point. American citizens should not need to present identification to walk around in their own country. There is no way to physically differentiate between a Mexican -American and a Mexican. This also true for Russians versus Russian Americans etc. Arizona SB 1070 infringes on the civil liberties of

    The policies of Europe or Mexico toward
    immigrants or visitors is irrelevant in the United
    States. Europe has a sordid history of racism that continues to this day. Mexico is racist as well. We should not emulate them.

  • 14 What the ... // Apr 27, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Anna, I agree, the banksters are raping us economically, but it is the Security & Exchange Comission’s job to overlook Wallstreet, and they have been blamed of not doing their job. I believe many of them have been caught doing the job of the people via viewing porn. Unfortunately, government does not do a good jobe of governing and us as Americans pay the price for their incompetance. It is government meddling in our free market system that has caused it to tumble. Not to mention the Federal Reserve (runned by banks) , no accountability, and inflated manipulation of our economic system which have now caused it to flat line. Our American economy should be determined by supply and demand, in order to create value, instead of artificial value.
    Irma, try to go to Mexico without any identification, drive a vehicle and get into an accident without Mexican insurance; further any country in the world demands identification. Lets all try to enter North Korea and use the same argument you are implying today, it would be futile…

  • 15 Michaelr // Apr 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Before you start promoting your chismes as factual history…Anna, or are you Bubbles, or Sunny as well along with remaining the Latino Apologist?

    It was the Stocksters and the Bondsters, who fleeced the Banksters with their magic elixir mortgage derivatives, insured by AIGsters Credit Default Swaps to complete their latest confidence scam on the American investor. And it was the American taxpayer who rescued the Banksters from their gullibility, so they could continue fleecing the American public, while the Stocksters and the Bondsters invent new confidence scams to fleece the Banksters, who remain unregulated for their theft. And the Banksters, the Stocksters, the Bondsters, and the AIGsters have to thank the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush2 administrations for all this freedom to steal from the American investor without doing jail time, because deregulation gives them the opportunity to do whatever they want. And that’s the latest Wall Street theft in a Mother Goose nutshell.

  • 16 irma // Apr 28, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    What the…..,

    Again , you miss the point – we are talking about the United States.
    What Mexico or any other country
    requires of their visitors is none of our business. Arizona SB 1070 is restricted to Arizona, a part of the United States of America. We are objecting to this bill, not to laws of other countries.

    Illegal immigrants whether you like or not, contribute to the economy in a very real way.
    They buy millions of dollars in US goods- this in turn helps the stock market etc. Ask any Wall Street broker what would happen to the stock of McDonald’s, Walmart, CVS, Wendy’s, Payless Shoes, Coca Cola etc if there were no illegal Mexican immigrants.

  • 17 ray // Apr 29, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Arizona has nothing on Mexico when it comes to cracking down on illegal aliens. While open-borders activists decry new enforcement measures signed into law in Arizona last week, they remain deaf, dumb or willfully blind to the unapologetically restrictionist policies of our neighbors to the south.

    The Arizona law bans sanctuary cities that refuse to enforce immigration laws, stiffens penalties against illegal alien day laborers and their employers, makes it a misdemeanor for immigrants to fail to complete and carry an alien registration document, and allows the police to arrest immigrants unable to show documents proving they are in the U.S. legally. If those rules constitute the racist, fascist, xenophobic, inhumane regime that the National Council of La Raza, Al Sharpton, Catholic bishops and their grievance-mongering followers claim, then what about these regulations and restrictions imposed on foreigners?

    – The Mexican government will bar foreigners if they upset “the equilibrium of the national demographics.” How’s that for racial and ethnic profiling?
    – If outsiders do not enhance the country’s “economic or national interests” or are “not found to be physically or mentally healthy,” they are not welcome. Neither are those who show “contempt against national sovereignty or security.” They must not be economic burdens on society and must have clean criminal histories. Those seeking to obtain Mexican citizenship must show a birth certificate, provide a bank statement proving economic independence, pass an exam and prove they can provide their own healthcare.
    – Illegal entry into the country is equivalent to a felony punishable by two years’ imprisonment. Document fraud is subject to fine and imprisonment; so is alien marriage fraud. Evading deportation is a serious crime; illegal re-entry after deportation is punishable by ten years’ imprisonment. Foreigners may be kicked out of the country without due process and the endless bites at the litigation apple that illegal aliens are afforded in our country.
    – Law enforcement officials at all levels — by national mandate — must cooperate to enforce immigration laws, including illegal alien arrests and deportations. The Mexican military is also required to assist in immigration enforcement operations. Native-born Mexicans are empowered to make citizens’ arrests of illegal aliens and turn them in to authorities.
    – Ready to show your papers? Mexico’s National Catalog of Foreigners tracks all outside tourists and foreign nationals. A National Population Registry tracks and verifies the identity of every member of the population, who must carry a citizens’ identity card. Visitors who do not possess proper documents and identification are subject to arrest as illegal aliens.

    All of these provisions are enshrined in Mexico’s Ley General de Población (General Law of the Population) and were spotlighted in a 2006 research paper published by the Washington, DC-based Center for Security Policy. There’s been no public clamor for “comprehensive immigration reform” in Mexico, however, because pro-illegal alien speech by outsiders is prohibited.

  • 18 llXx.FANTASTICO.xXll // May 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Personally, I deem this bill unconstitutional. I see the perspective of those whom support this bill, nevertheless everyone deserves a chance in this country wether they are here illegally or not. The constitution clearly states that everyone in the U.S. is entitled to their rights. It doesn’t say “ONLY CITIZENS RESIDING IN THE U.S.” Immigrants who come here illegally have their reasons. You think they would go through the whole burden of risking their own lives and families just for the fun of it? No. They do it for necesity not for amusement. I speak ONLY for those undocumented immigrants who come here to work and progress, not to the ACTUAL criminals such as drug-dealers, rapist’s,murderer’s, etc. Im a PROUD child of immigrants who once were undocumented, that came here ilegally. They’re residents now, but my point being, evertyone deserves a chance. Immigrant and undocumented ones contribute to the american economy. They do jobs that some people wouldn’t want to do. Get paid below minimum wage, unethical working conditions, and abuse from their bosses. Which american citizen whose probably a professional at what they do, would wnat to go for that? EXACTLy NOBODY.

  • 19 llXx.FANTASTICO.xXll // May 1, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    *Disregard my spelling mistakes, I was in a rush. Ironically to go to the pro-immigration march in Manhattan,N.Y.!

  • 20 What the ... // May 1, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Anna, of course it matters if you need to validate your aurgument, otherwise it’s just you opinion. You need to understand the immigration policy of other countries to use as a reference point in order to validate your augument. States have the right to make laws that our stricter than Federal laws, they cannot do the opposite, it would be unconstitutional.
    I buy a Japanese car, and food products, does that entitle me to demand Japanese citizenship?

  • 21 irma // May 2, 2010 at 9:52 am

    What the…,

    Are you an American? I wonder, because it is clear that you write quite poorly in English.

  • 22 What the ... // May 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Irma, Is that the best you can do?

  • 23 Race, Politics, and Sports collide with Arizona’s passage of Senate Bill 1070 « The Pole's Position // May 5, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    […] suspicion? Everybody of Hispanic orientation will be scrutinized.”  Because of this, others, including law professors, have said that it is flat out unconstitutional.  President Obama has called SB 1070 “misguided,” and has asked the Department of […]

  • 24 What The.. // May 5, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    When in fact federal laws are inadequate, this gives states the right to go above and beyond federal law requirements…

  • 25 Estudiantes de Arizona promueven desobedecer ley SB 1070 « Inmigrante TV Noticias Sobre Inmigracion // May 6, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    […] Fuente de imagen: Aqui […]

  • 26 marlene // May 15, 2010 at 3:12 am

    Never Trust the So Called Law Professors Calling the Protection of Borders Unconstiuttional.

    Only a Serious fool will believe Arizona Law which upholds the Article 4 Section 4 of the Constituton.

    These Law makers Amnesty is Unconstiuttional. That is why it is an Act. What is an Act, something Not Real.

    Arizona Law is Very Constiuttional, and what the Feds did in Breaching Article 4 section 4 is Unconsitutional.

  • 27 marlene // May 15, 2010 at 3:19 am

    This is Funny as shit, Some Dead Brain Blacks who allow themselves to be used, WILL BE THE FOOLS OF ALL FOOLS, BECAUSE MEXICANS WILL NEVER STAND UP FOR BLACKS.

    PLUS Mexicans already have the Whole World on their Side. They dont need your dead brain Black Zombies with 60% Unemployment to help give some more of their jobs, and opportunities and wealth away do they. WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD THEM OLD DEAD BRAIN BLACKS THAT CAN BE USED BY ANYONE BE WANTED. WE all know they dead and dont have the sense of An Ants Ass because they are so phuckin Black and dumb. And We all Know all Illegals have way way more rights then dumb ass dead brain Blacks, who dont care about themselves now dont we. All People of Above their Dead Ass. SO GET THE LIBERALS WHITES TO USURP ALL THE DUMB AMERICANS.

  • 28 marlene // May 15, 2010 at 3:29 am

    Arizona is On America Soil, regardless and Falls under an American Constitution. And have the Right to Protect American Citizens on American SoIL . Therefore Foreign Invaders on American Soil are Governed by Article 4 Section 4. There foreign Status no longer apply when they Transpass. So Arizona is Constitutionally following the law.

  • 29 Alicia // May 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    HA all u people just like to hate

  • 30 Alicia // May 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    like to hate on us mexicans

  • 31 Smudge // May 21, 2010 at 10:57 am

    What is unconstitutional about confirming the legal status of someone that has already been detained for a different infraction? The AZ law is not it’s own imigration policy, it is a mandate for thier police to assist to enforce the existing federal law. If they cannot confirm legality by some form of identification, they refer the person to ICE (feds). How is that different than the cops finding an incapacitated drug addict on the street, or someone with a driving infraction (speeding, tail light out, expired tags, etc.) that doesn’t have ID, and waiting to confirm who they are so they can determine if there are any warrants (local, state, or federal) prior to releasing them? Just add legal residency status to the warrant search, and there you have the AZ law. What is unconstitutional about that?

  • 32 seaven // Jun 2, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    You are all missing the point of the law, the key word is illegal this means breaking the law and we are a nation of laws so if you are here and you are breaking the law you should be jailed and pay for your crime, this includes crossing the boarder without proper documentation, go back while you still have a chance, the law will be in place in July law breaker beware!

  • 33 Yoshira // Jun 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    wow. God bless all you poor hearted people.
    Even a child could see steriotyping all illigals as “criminals” isn’t the smartest thing. Educate youself people, learn your history. Are you on the right side of history? Just because majority supports it, doesn’t mean it’s right. God have pitty on you. One day hopefully I pray you guys will understand love had no boundries, No one is free if you live with prisoners in your own home.

  • 34 Eric // Jun 11, 2010 at 5:41 am

    Do none of you understand the impact that ILLEGAL immigrants have on this country? I’ve lived in AZ my whole life, and am a sole supporter in this fight for illegal immigration to come to a stand still. Do you honestly believe you can just walk into every country without thinking there are borders? I work in public safety and have seen first hand the troubles illegal immigrants serve in our community, and that is only the beginning. From accidents involving illegals, to crimes, to education, to the sheer lack of respect they have for our country. The impact it has has on our country being a bilingual country, especially AZ. Just remember when you or someone close to you has to get admitted to a hospital with the expectation that you may not have the best of care because they are tending to a undocumented alien. Lets not all forget that 150 million of the 1.3 billion dollars we spend on illegal immigration every year (and rising) in AZ is because of giving them free health care. The ones you people need to corner are the ones that want to keep giving handouts with no thought process involved. Most importantly, start thinking for yourself; do the research before you get too involved in media altercation. If you don’t believe in the sparse statistics I have stated, I think you need to get your head on straight and research it, I was being conservative.

  • 35 Chente // Jun 16, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    I hate to go back to this, but if you know your history. It is the reason we are in this situation. This country of mine was built on bigotry and racism. To deny that is just that bigotry. It is the the reason Mexicans say the border crossed us, we did not cross the border. Technically the 5 states that were once Mexico are now USA’s. I say to you if you cut your arm off? Do you stop being whom you are? Do not get me wrong. I’m all for secured border and legal immigration. By the way, why do we not have this issue on our Northern border. If I sound confused is because I am. Is it immigration? Is it racial? Is it labor? Is it politics? Is it humanitarian? Is it all of the above?

  • 36 Dude // Jun 23, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Yea, but they dont enforce those laws in Mexico.. My dad went there with the press and the Policia stole his goddamn cameras and ditched him in the middle of nowhere. Also, they like selling us heroin.

    mmmmmmmmmm, heroin.

  • 37 The Department Of Justice Sues Arizona & Governor Brewer in Response to SB 1070 // Jul 6, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    […] a sense of sanity in Arizona. As I have blogged previously, some of the nation’s best legal minds have expressed that SB 1070 is unconstitutional. For those of you who want to do something to show […]

  • 38 KATHLEEN // Jul 11, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    I won’t be harassed by this law, what with my blue eyes and brown hair, so it’s okay. My husband though, Hispanic that he is, will be questioned and probably detained. That’s what he gets for being tan and speaking with the regional accent of our state, Minnesota. It doesn’t matter that he was born at TMC.

  • 39 Dave // Mar 15, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Driving Under the Influience check points.
    Our government employed citizen protection employees, the police set up DUI check points to help keep our street safe for citizens of the United States. There is no discerning of race or religion. And yes, they have the right to check your license and automobile registration in the process. And if they find out you are a wanted felon, or you don’t have proper identification, well guess what? You made your bed, now sleep in it. I’ve gone through DUI check points on my way home from work. And I’m a blue eyed red headed WHITE boy. All I drank was a soda at diner that day. How many of you live in Arizona and deal with the fears of criminals running through your neighborhoods, distributing drugs or guns where your children play????
    The law is what it is…to be safe.

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