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Federal appeals court appears to support some parts of Arizona's immigration law and reject others

A federal appeals court that is reviewing Arizona's tough new immigration law appeared inclined Monday to permit the state to require police to investigate the immigration status of people they have legally stopped but also seemed ready to reject more punitive provisions giving the state enforcement powers.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, meeting in San Francisco, appeared likely to rule that Arizona may require police in certain situations to investigate a person’s immigration status if there is reasonable cause to suspect that person had committed a crime.

But the panel also seemed to agree with a lower court ruling that other provisions of Arizona’s law were "preempted" by the federal government's sole authority to regulate immigration.

The court appeared likely to reject provisions that would make it a state crime for a person to not carry immigration papers and that allows for criminal punishment of illegal immigrants who seek work in Arizona.

“This is going to be a mixed verdict,” predicted UC Hastings Law Professor David I. Levine, noting that the law may ultimately be rendered meaningless.

About 200 demonstrators turned up outside the court, with about half opposing the Arizona law and the others backing the legislation. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer also attended the proceedings.

The 9th Circuit judges chosen randomly to hear Arizona's appeal are John Noonan, an appointee of Ronald Reagan and a moderate; Richard Paez, a Bill Clinton appointee and the son of Mexican immigrants; and Carlos Bea, an appointee of George W. Bush who was born in Spain and once was ordered deported from the United States. Bea appealed and won.

A decision by the 9th Circuit panel could be appealed to a larger circuit panel and then to U.S. Supreme Court. The three-member panel’s ruling could come within weeks or months.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Photo: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (132)

The REAL problem is that: Illegal Mexicans don't want to BE Americans, they just want to live LIKE Americans; regardless of the cost to the existing Americans.

If you favor amnesty for all and open borders then elect Boxer and Brown. If you want the rule of law to prevail then vote for Carly and Meg.

Have all anchor babies leave the State of Arizona, that are not of American Indian descent. No one will be left in the state! The open the flood gates to re-populate the State with new immigrant blood! It will remind all those currently in the State, THEY ARE ANCHOR BABIES BLOOD LINE TOO!

To say that the U.S. government is doing NOTHING to protect our borders or prevent illegal immigration and drug smuggling... is an insult to our hard-working Border Patrol, ICE, and TSA agents.

They are working their butts off to protect this nation's borders and are continually getting better at it. What Becky Kutz said is true... in the last 2 years more illegal immigrants have been prevented from entering the Unites States than in the 5 years prior combined. This has been done with an increase in personnel and upgrades in technology.

So... when people from Arizona or others say that NOTHING is being done by the federal government it is a LIE.

Just watch that show "Border Wars" to see just how hard our federal agents work and risk their lives everyday!

And Lori, in response to your post, my great grandparents came here legaly...i believe that should speak for itself

IF you vote fort Jerry Brown, that means that you have chosen to ignore the fact that Meg Whitman was backstabbed by an illegal immigrant and will extract her pound of flesh on every single one of them once she is elected. I was extremely happy to see the story unfold, with Jerry Brown choosing to defend the illegal instead of deporting her (As Attorney General for the state of California). Gloria Allred only added insult to injury, further infuriating Whitman. PERFECT. Now Whitman sees them for what they are and will support common Americans in their plight to unsuppress wages and lower crime. If you idiots elect Brown, I'm going to lose all faith in America. Two terms of Bush was over the top, but Brown is the fireworks that will blow the hull out of the good ship "The Californian" and sends her to a watery grave.

A recent Pew Hispanic Center report on "unauthorized immigrants" reveals that in the state of California fully 9.8% of "all workers" are illegal.

Now, if you factor in "protected" categories of employment such as public employees, licensed nurses, doctors, teachers, lawyers etc. then the true rate of "unauthorized immigrants" in the remaining workforce is much closer to 15% or 16%.

So you have about 1 worker in 6, in the private market of employment is illegally working.

Now tell us again, how illegal immigrants are only doing "jobs Americans donn't want"...

Tell that to the 40% of construction workers who are unemployed.

The only people who have a problem with new laws are people who are draining our system and living off of it when they are not even legal. Their husbands work day labor so NO money goes back into system then when AMERICANS need it, it's not available cuz the system is broke! But we are all racist cuz we need to protect our borders. I wonder how much assistance we would get in any other country not being legal. WE ALL have a right to come here legaly. No matter what you are. All other countries have a right to protect there borders. How come americans are racist if they do. THE FREE RIDE IS COMING TO AN END

By the way, if I see another group like La Raza ("The Race"--basically the Klu Klux Klan of Hispanic groups) calling Americans "Nazis" for wanting federal laws enforced, I'm going to puke.
You can only lie to and insult good people so long before it begins to backfire.

I was gratified to see the judge ask the question that supports an argument I've been making for months. He asked if Congress is not capable of saying no. Like I've been arguing if the Congress doesn't want Arizona doing what it's doing, it should simply pass a law to make that clear. Why should we have lawyers argue of what past Congresses meant when the current Congress can simply make its statutory law intent absolutely clear?

The virtue in this is not only to take it out of the realm of obscure legal arguments but the far greater virtue in a representative democracy of transparency concerning the actions of the people who are supposed to be representing us. While it would have been ideal is to have had them vote on it a month ago so that people could have gone to the polls and decided who best represents their beliefs about illegal immigration, it still is worthwhile. I now want them to postpone any vote till January so that people already thrown out can't vote. But after that let's have the new Congress go on record. The citizens of this country deserve to be able to know who to hold accountable in government for the deliberate non-enforcement of laws against illegal immigration.

The INS was eliminated on March 1, 2003. The Department of Homeland Security was created in part to take its place. US Customs and Border Protection now covers the Border Patrol and the inspection process at port of entry (air, land and sea). Immigration and Customs Enforcement handles investigations and deportation of aliens in the US ilegally, and Citizenship and Immigration Services handles the benefits side of aliens coming to the US legally.

If they don't have required documents, ship them to ICE.
What's the problem?

The first word says it all "ILLEGAL" What other country can you go to and receive gov. asst when your not even supposed to be here. I cannot beleive its even tolerable. Mexico's biggest income is money being sent back from the ol' USA. Their citizens even get bonuses to send money back. Our system is being broke down from the inside out and the worst thing is our parents and grandparents wont get what they paid for cuz it's broke. our forefathers are turning in there graves. All their hard work ruined by "ILLEGALS"
WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is nothing in the United States Constitution that guarantees the right to enter without permission and stay indefinitely, or to parlay aggrieved economic status into an expedited path toward citizenship ahead of those who have filed the necessary paperwork and waited their turn.

Being employed under false social security numbers, likewise, does not confer refugee status under the banner of compassion. If that were the case, we would be obliged to simply open our borders and allow anybody whosoever desires to immigrate to do so without any qualification whatsoever.

Mexico is attempting to continue to export its #1 problem, poverty, into a country that is quickly losing its capacity to absorb such individuals without adverse, long-lasting consequences. This is not a matter of racial discrimination against those with brown skin. Illegal aliens who are white, Asian, black--and any other race--are, likewise equally subject to deportation procedures as anybody else.

The ability to control one's borders is one of the defining characteristics of a sovereign country. The time has come to secure the border with a wall, not a virtual fence.

The INS is not doing it's job. Yes, they are deporting more and more illegal immigrants each year. But not nearly to the extent that illegal immigration is rising each and each year....in fact, they are doing less in the past two years than ever before to combat illegal immigrants coming in and deporting them when they are caught.

As a legal immigrant, my personal experience with the INS is that it's terrible. There is 0 communication between various branches. The laws and rules are so long-winded that it's impossible for someone fluent in English to comprehend them.

The border patrol part and the part that oversees cases of caught illegal immigrants is even worse. Completely inconsistent from case to case.

Any time there is any public outrage over illegal immigrants and crime, rather thank making any effort to combat it, they detract from the issue by cracking down on legal immigration because it's easier to do, despite the fact that legal immigration is not the real issue.

The whole institution is a complete joke and in desperate need of revision. The first thing is to simply the laws and make them straightforward, make sure each branch actually knows the laws, and enforce them. None of these things are being done right now.

What's the point of laws if you're not going to do anything about them? Illegal immigration is ILLEGAL, yet there is no actual structured outline on how to deal with illegal immigrants.

And last thing, as legal immigrant, I have to say that no, no one deserves to be here illegally. No one should be praised for flouting the laws. If those immigrants truly love America and wish to start a new life there, they can start by respecting the laws of the country and coming here legally. It's hard, but if you respect the country, you respect laws, and you respect other people, that's what you do. There is 0 respect from illegal immigrants for America. 0 respect and 0 loyalty. And that is why they are not shy from committing crimes when they come here. And that is why citizens don't like to be around them. It's not racism. It's the lack of respect coming from illegal immigrants to the country, to its citizens, and to the overall neighborhoods.

How was a former illegal who was deported and won on appeal chosen at random to sit on this appeals board. Clearly looks like someone is "randomly" stacking the bench. Anyone want to bet whether he finds the law unconstitutional?

People who talk about biased judges need to get a clue - it's what a person does, not who they are, that evidences bias. If you have evidence that a judge ruled incorrectly in their own favor, you have evidence of their bias. If you're simply saying it based on something about them, that's just evidence of your own bias against that type of person.

Many comments suggest that the posters have no conception of how the judicial system works, or they just are not reading the article carefully enough, or both.

For what it's worth, the judges are assigned randomly (as it says in the article). If the deck is "stacked," it has been stacked by luck, not by the Department of Justice (which is not even a part of the judiciary, it is part of the executive branch). The Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, Alex Kozinski, is hardly liberal (Reagan appointee, really more of a libertarian if you read a lot of his opinions that suggest any political leanings), but he is fiercely independent. If there was any legitimate thought that his Circuit was assigning judges on the basis of actual or perceived bias, this is not the sort of Chief Judge that would allow it to continue, believe me. I'd like to see some of you that suggest that the Ninth Circuit is playing politics with this case express that to Judge Kozinski in open court.

The Ninth Circuit generally meets in San Francisco (but also meets in Pasadena, Portland, and Seattle), and since it is a federal, not state, court, this is not a case where one state is deciding the constitutionality of another state's laws. The Ninth Circuit includes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Guam. If you are interested in actually learning about the Ninth Circuit and the judiciary, there is lots more at the Ninth Circuit web site: www.ca9.uscourts.gov (not sure if LA Times allows links, if this is blank you can find it easily via google). Or you could just ignore reality and continue ranting.

If our country is being invaded by anything, it is hate. Unfortunately, that seems to be coming from within, not without.

btw, the 9 curcuit court of appeals for the western U.S. including AZ is in San Francisco...this was not "chosen" for this case..

The two ideal judges for a forgone conclusion seems appearant, and not random as claimed. I don't think 2/3 of the federal judges are Spanish/Mexican 1st generation americans. I don't think 1/3 of federal judges have been deported. So I suggest it is not random at all.

According to the LAT article, the court:
"appeared likely to rule that Arizona may require police in certain situations to investigate a person’s immigration status if there is reasonable cause to suspect that person had committed a crime."

We win, then. This is what the case was all about! How could the Hastings professor claim that it could be rendered meaningless?

If it reaches the High Court of the land Arizona will win ! But the Democrats will do what ever it takes for it not too . I support the State of Arizona to do what it takes to protect it's borders and if the Republicans take the house and the Senate you will see the shift back to keeping our borders safe . It is a question of national security to do so !

Why you keep saying the the problem is with the "illegals"? If all these so-called illegals had entered the USA in a legal way we would still have the same social problems: welfare dependency, noise, crime, illegitimate children production, immorality and non-compliance with our European standards of decency and morality.
We have to close the borders forever to all non-Europeans and this will also take care with the unfolding Islamic invasion of this Country. Another major,major problem.

I wonder what "hat" these judges names were drawn from?

"I find it interesting that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is meeting in San Francisco a self proclaimed "Sanctuary City". Just an observation."

Posted by: JK1087 | November 01, 2010 at 12:04 PM

@ JK1087 - if you knew ANYTHING at all about the legal system, or even bothered to Google something about the 9th Circuit, you'd know that the main branch of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is atually located in San Francisco and that is where these types of arguments take place - they are not "meeting there" in some sort of conspiracy as you seem to imply.

That said, I personally have zero tolerance for illegals in this country and wish we could get rid of every single one of them. ALL of them, not just those from south of the border.

“Absent extraordinary circumstances or the requirements of mandatory detention, field office directors should not expend detention resources on aliens who are known to be suffering from serious physical or mental illness, or who are disabled, elderly, pregnant, or nursing, or demonstrate that they are primary caretakers of children or an infirm person, or whose detention is otherwise not in the public interest.”
Morton, Assistant Secretary U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Jun 30, 2010) MEMORANDUM Policy Number: 10072.1, FEA Number: 601-14 ¶ C at p. 3 (underlining removed)

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