Former solicitor generals from Republican and Democratic administrations agreed Sunday that the Supreme Court could strike parts of the controversial immigration law in Arizona.
Ken Starr, who served in the George H.W. Bush administration, and Neal Katyal, formerly of the Obama administration, both said the court is likely to rule unconstitutional the parts of the law that make it a criminal offense for undocumented immigrants to look for work.
Starr said parts of the law are "quite problematic. And in particular, the provision with respect to individuals who are undocumented seeking work. Congress sought not to make that a crime, not to make that any kind of civil offense, to rather have a very important system of employer sanctions but not employee sanctions," Starr said, although he defended the law enforcement provisions as acceptable under the Constitution.
Katyal agreed, saying that Starr "nailed it on the head."
The Arizona immigration law, SB 1070, mandates that all immigrants carry their identifying documents at all times, requires that state officials determine a person's immigration status upon arrest, and creates new penalties for those hiring or aiding illegal immigrants. It has been attacked by Democrats and the Obama administration as being one of the most far-reaching and harshest immigration laws in the country, and the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on its constitutionality on April 25.