Attorneys for immigrant rights groups asked the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to rebuff a last-ditch attempt by the state to start prosecuting people for harboring and transporting those not in the country legally. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.
The law makes it illegal to transport or harbor anyone unlawfully present in this country, or even encourage that person to come to Arizona. Like other provisions of SB 1070, both a trial judge and a federal appeals court blocked enforcement as preempted by federal laws. John Bouma, representing Gov. Jan Brewer, is asking the Supreme Court to rule that Arizona is entitled to have its own version. Attorney Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center disagreed.
“You can’t even enact a mirror image. And really here with the harboring and transporting provision, it’s Arizona’s attempt to criminalize activity that’s very similar to what’s criminalized federally and even to go beyond it,” Tumlin said.
Tumlin said one problem is it lets Arizona courts decide who is here legally. She cited the federal Deferred Acton for Childhood Arrivals program that allows certain people here illegally who came to this country as children to remain. But, Brewer has said they’re “unlawfully present aliens,” a category she uses to deny them a state driver’s license.
“You could imagine, for example, a U.S. citizen sibling of a DACA recipient, driving around their sibling to different locations. They could get charged with transporting under Arizona’s law,” Tumlin said.
The high court has not set a date to decide whether to hear Brewer’s appeal.