The U.S. Supreme Court has essentially blocked two ordinances championed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach that he said were aimed at reducing illegal immigration.
Kobach said Tuesday he was disappointed in the decisions but will continue his work across the nation to fight illegal immigration. And he said that he still has more victories than losses in the arena.
“I’ll take a winning record,” he said, pointing to legal decisions that allow states to use the E-Verify program to check the immigration status of new hires, in addition to several other local ordinances.
On Monday, without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand rulings that struck down city ordinances in the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch and in Hazleton, Penn.
Kobach helped write and assisted in the legal defense of the measures, which sought to prevent landlords from renting to illegal immigrants and employers from hiring people who lacked proper immigration status.
Lower courts had ruled that the ordinances were pre-empted by federal immigration laws.
“… the ordinances’ supporters failed in their final, last ditch attempt to resurrect these laws, which have been blocked for years without ever going into effect,” said attorney Omar Jadwat, supervising attorney for the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
Kobach noted that a Fremont, Neb., ordinance that he is defending and that is almost the same as the Farmers Branch ordinance is up for consideration before the U.S. Supreme Court. Unlike the Farmers Branch and Hazleton ordinances, the Fremont ordinance has been upheld at the lower appeals court level.
Kobach is one of the main authors of SB 1070 in Arizona, which generated international controversy.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the so-called “show me your papers” portion of the law that requires police officers to try to check the immigration status of someone they detain for another reason if they suspect the person is in the country illegally. But the court struck down several other provisions of the law.
Also on Monday, South Carolina, which patterned its illegal immigration law partially on SB 1070 from Arizona, reached a settlement with immigrant rights groups that filed a lawsuit.
State officials said the law doesn’t allow police to detain someone solely to check their papers after the reason for the original stop has ended.
Statehouse reporter Scott Rothschild can be reached at 785-423-0668 or firstname.lastname@example.org