Congressman Bob Goodlatte issued this statement following the Supreme Court's 5-3 ruling on the Arizona immigration law (S.B. 1070).
"The problem of illegal immigration has reached crisis proportions, not just in Arizona, but throughout our entire country. Illegal immigration costs our taxpayers billions of dollars every year and places a significant burden on our schools, health care facilities, and law enforcement to name just a few. While the federal government has done little to combat this growing problem, today's Supreme Court decision on Arizona v. United States does uphold a key provision of Arizona's immigration law allowing law enforcement officials to obtain information about legal status when an individual is stopped for an unrelated offense. While this is good news, the remainder of the Supreme Court's decision ties the hands of states in many ways and requires further Congressional action. For example, the decision strikes down the authority of states to detain an individual solely for an immigration offense, and also strikes down the authority of states to impose criminal penalties for certain activities by illegal aliens.
"While allowing states to require police to ask about immigration status when an individual is stopped for unrelated offenses is a step in the right direction, the problem is that states must then turn the information over to federal authorities and hope they do something about it. However, the reason why many states have felt compelled to enact their own immigration laws in the first place is the gross lack of enforcement at the federal level. This decision highlights the need for a new federal law that expressly grants the authority to states to help enforce our nation's immigration laws. That is why I am a strong supporter of the CLEAR Act, which amends federal immigration law to specifically grant state and local law enforcement the authority to help enforce our immigration laws. I will continue to work to enact this important legislation and push for common sense immigration reforms."