Just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its ruling and upheld the controversial so-called "show me your papers" provision in Arizona's immigration law, the Obama administration announced Monday they are suspending a vital program that lets state and local law enforcement agencies enforce federal immigration law, Fox News reports.
Obama administration officials said program 287(g) would be suspended indefinitely. Under the program, local authorities were permitted by the federal government to make immigration-related arrests.
Officials also said Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not respond to calls from Arizona and other police agencies regarding the immigration status of people they pull over unless they meet a specified criteria. For example, they will respond if the person is wanted for a felony.
The latest move will certainly weaken Arizona's ability to secure its own borders and appears to be yet another unilateral action taken by President Obama to dictate policy.
The program suspension comes after ICE called the program a "top" initiative and agreed it strengthened "public safety."
"The 287(g) program, one of ICE’s top partnership initiatives, allows a state and local law enforcement entity to enter into a partnership with ICE, under a joint Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), in order to receive delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions," ICE's website reads.
"In 2009, ICE fundamentally reformed the 287(g) delegated authority program, strengthening public safety and ensuring consistency in immigration enforcement across the country by prioritizing the arrest and detention of criminal aliens."
President Obama released the following statement after the SCOTUS ruling on Monday:
I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.
At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities.
The high court struck down the three other parts of SB 1070, including the provisions that made it a crime for immigrants to seek work without work permits, to not carry their immigration papers and permitted law enforcement to arrest individuals they suspect committed crimes that would require their deportation.
The "show me your papers provision" is expected to face further legal challenges as the immigration debate still remains largely undecided and highly contentious.