NBC Latino - Why Jan Brewer Should Re-Consider Even Enforcing "Papers Please" Section of SB1070

Today the Supreme Court struck down the bulk of Arizona's infamous SB-1070, however the most perncious part of the law was upheld, the papers please section. Arizona Governor  Jan brewer is eager to begin enforcing Arizona’s parts of the law. The Governor should consider a couple of things to temper her zeal for enforcement. Given recent drops in undocumented immigration is SB1070 even necessary anymore?

Does the Governor realize that the legal battle will only increase in intensity, the second Arizona incorrectly arrests a legal immigrant or citizen? In an election year Arizona voters should be asking themselves this: other than further infamy and economic hardship, what do the citizens of Arizona actually gain in going along with Governor Brewer on her Ahab like quest to solve a problem that no longer exists? The reality is even if she wins, Arizona loses.

Governor Brewer has said that SB1070 is necessary in order to defend the U.S. from an “invasion of illegals.”  As Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN a center left think tank notes, deportations of criminal immigrants are at historic high levels. There is currently unprecedented cooperation between federal immigration law enforcement officials and local law enforcement officials across the country to prioritize the deportation of criminal immigrants. The Obama administration has deported nearly 1.06 million undocumented immigrants, by contrast former President George W.  Bush’s in two full presidential terms only deported 1.57 million.

The Obama Administration has also enhanced interior immigration enforcement by transitioning from large-scale workplace arrests of undocumented workers to a far more effective electronic I-9 audit system. Cases against employers are up sharply: Immigration and Customs Enforcement quadrupled the number of employer audits after Obama took office, businesses were fined $6.9 million in fiscal 2010, up from $675,000 in 2008.

The border region in Arizona has never been safer. In 2000, there were 23 rapes, robberies and murders in Nogales, Ariz. Despite nearly a decade of population growth, there were 19 such crimes. Aggravated assaults actually dropped by one-third. Overall net migration of undocumented immigrants from Mexico is stagnant.  The number of immigrants currently entering the country through Arizona is also down.Border Patrol apprehensions, an indicator of the number of immigrants crossing the border, are down 41 percent compared with the previous year.

If Alabama is any indication, Arizona is looking to invite even more lawsuits.

In Alabama where enforcement of their state immigration law actually occurred, local police officers had arrested two legal immigrants who also happened to be car executives visiting plants in the State.  If the Supreme Court finds parts of Sb1070 constitutional based on a lack of consensus on the federal pre-emption argument and it is actually enforced, if anything close to what happened in Alabama occurs in Arizona, there will be so many civil rights lawsuits filled, Governor Brewers head will spin.

Bottom line even though the Supreme Court upheld the papers please provision, this fight is far from over and will continue at great fiscal cost to the people of Arizona. Which brings us back to Governor Brewer, it is increasingly unlikely that she will ever be able enforce the law for a sustained amount of time, again in an election year Arizona voters should be asking themselves this is Governor Brewer leading Arizona off of a cliff to solve a problem that no longer exists.

Most of this essay originally ran in NBC Latino , this version has been updated to reflect the SCOTUS hearing.