In its much-anticipated ruling on Arizona's immigration law, the Supreme Court upheld a key part of the law which requires police officers to check the immigration status of the people they stop for any reason.
Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA), a leading voice for immigration reform, says the move affirms the role of states in immigration enforcement.
"This ruling affirms the role of states in immigration enforcement," said Kingston. "While it did not give pro-enforcement supporters all the tools we might have wanted, it is a rejection of the Obama Administration's insistence that only the federal government can enforce the law. In fact, the ruling specifically highlights federal and state cooperation as "an important feature of the immigration system.' This an important step forward for enforcement."
Kingston believes the ruling could clear the way for of Georgia's own immigration law to be enforced. While most provisions were due to take effect almost a year ago, several have been held up by legal challenge. The case is now pending in 11th Circuit Court of Appeals which announced last March that it would delay ruling on the matter until the Supreme Court had its say.
Kingston says he hopes the ruling will serve as an impetus for reform in the nation's immigration system.
"States like Georgia and Arizona are forced to act in the absence of a system that works on the federal level," Kingston said. "That starts with enforcing the laws we have on the books now, something this administration refuses to do. Then we need to come together to provide the leadership on immigration for which the American people calling."
Kingston has been a fierce advocate for immigration reform, having been awarded the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform's highest honor -- the People's Representative Award -- for his work to advance electronic verification of employment eligibility for all federal contractors.
In the current Congress, he has cosponsored legislation that would extend a similar practice to private sector employers as well in an effort to prevent illegal aliens from gaining employment in the United States. He also lent his name to a bill that would establish operational control of the border, work with state and local officials to enforce immigration laws, and strengthen visa security.
Mindful of the need of agricultural producers to have access to seasonal labor, he introduced a proposal to fundamentally reform the H2A guest worker program and ensure access to legal workers for farmers and ranchers.