Obama Administration Files Suit Against Arizona Over Immigration Law

The legal battle over immigration began today as the Obama Administration filed suit against Arizona over its new immigration law.

As expected, the Justice Department has filed a multiple-count lawsuit against the State of Arizona, arguing that its new immigration law is pre-empted by Federal law and unconstitutional:

The Justice Department weighed in on one of the most explosive issues in American politics Tuesday, filing a lawsuit to overturn a tough new Arizona immigration law that has sharply divided people along partisan, ideological and ethnic lines.

It also asked the federal courts to grant an injunction to stop enforcement of the measure before it takes effect late this month.

Arizona’s law requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and allows police to question the residency status of people in the course of enforcing another law. It also targets businesses that hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transport them.

Justice Department lawyers argued in its brief that the state statute should be declared invalid because it has improperly preempted federal law.

“A state may not establish its own immigration policy or enforce state laws in a manner that interferes with the federal immigration laws,” the brief states. “The Constitution and the federal immigration laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.”

The Arizona law “disrupts federal enforcement priorities and resources that focus on aliens who pose a threat to national security or public safety. … If allowed to go into effect, [the law’s] mandatory enforcement scheme will conflict with and undermine the federal government’s careful balance of immigration enforcement priorities and objectives.”

Arizona is interested only in “attrition” in order to end illegal entries and has not addressed several other federal obligations to deal with immigrants, including removal proceedings, humanitarian concerns and foreign relations, the brief contends.

At the very least, I expect that we will see the Federal District Court enter an injunction preventing the law from going into effect later this month pending a resolution of the legal issues raised by this suit and by the others that have been filed against the law over the past few months.

It’s hard to predict what will happen to the case on the merits at the District Court level, although the involvement of the Federal Government will certainly put Arizona on the defensive. One can expect that, whatever that decision is, we’ll see an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals at the very least and, possibly, to the Supreme Court two or three years down the road. In the meantime, though, the Arizona law will be in limbo and, hopefully, our political leaders will have the courage to actually put together a rational immigration reform plan.

For those so inclined, here’s a copy of the Complaint filed today:

United States v. Arizona

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Borders and Immigration, Law and the Courts, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. TangoMan says:

    Doug,

    You’re the lawyer here so please correct me if I’m wrong:

    “A state may not establish its own immigration policy or enforce state laws in a manner that interferes with the federal immigration laws,” the brief states. “The Constitution and the federal immigration laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.”

    What the Federal Government writes in its complaint doesn’t have to be a true statement, as in a finding of fact, but simply what they think is happening, right? If every state passes a law which declares that state and local police officials will arrest those who break federal law, the Feds may see that as a patchwork of policies but the courts may not.

    Arizona’s position is that they have not established their own immigration policy, they’re simply modeling their law on Federal law. Secondly, the Federal immigration law is not currently enforced solely by Federal immigration officers and ICE has quite an extensive outreach state and local law enforcement officers and has designed training programs for them.




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  2. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    If you just read the Arizona law Doug you will see it mimics the Federal law including a provision which the federal law lacks that being protection from racial profiling. For preemption to be charged, there must be preemption and none can be shown here.




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  3. JKB says:

    Can the Justice department ask for an injunction stopping Arizona from enforcing federal law as written?

    If not, then AZ will still be able to investigate those suspected of transporting or employing illegal aliens. In the course of the investigation, they have to inquire after reasonable suspicion as to the lawful status of an alien being transported or employed. They can inquire and report any person arrested suspected of being unauthorized and ICE is required by law to respond for dangerous felons and if the governor requests such information for the courts. Any alien found without their immigration document can be reported to ICE although such a document search can only be conducted after the development of reasonable suspicion by the officer.

    That is all black letter federal code. And the reasonable suspicion investigation was just upheld last March by the First Circuit.

    So AZ won’t be able to prosecute for state crimes. Won’t be able to stop…wait, they will be able to inquire as to immigration status after development of reasonable suspicion during contact for another matter. See the 1st circuit decision just last March regarding a traffic stop where the officer inquired about immigration status after developing reasonable suspicion where his actions were granted qualified immunity.

    Surely the injunction won’t impact AZ’s enforcement of traffic laws with penalties for those blocking traffic to pick up illegal labor? Or AZ’s denial of local jurisdictions choosing not to enforce federal law regarding immigration?

    Unless federal law is suspended in AZ or Congress changes the law, AZ can still be pretty effective.




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  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    Did someone mention brown people? Why, look! Up in the comments! It’s TangoBrimelow!

    The over-under on Brimelow trotting out his inevitable brown-folks-is-stoopid arguments is 7 comments. Can he do it in fewer than 7 comments?




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  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    Surely the injunction won’t impact AZ’s enforcement of traffic laws with penalties for those blocking traffic to pick up illegal labor? Or AZ’s denial of local jurisdictions choosing not to enforce federal law regarding immigration?

    Unless federal law is suspended in AZ or Congress changes the law, AZ can still be pretty effective.

    Which would beg the question why they felt they needed to pass a law in the first place. Surely not to pander for votes.




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  6. Pete says:

    Michael, do you have a better idea?




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  7. G.A.Phillips says:

    Another publicity stunt from the race baiting cowards in the Obama regime, they must like getting their a$$es spanked in court.

    Man I can’t wait till November!

    ***Did someone mention brown people? Why, look! Up in the comments! It’s Tango Brimelow!****

    TangoBrimelow? how about HarryApplewhite, I know who you really are….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqSZhwu1Rwo




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  8. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Can anyone here explain the difference between immigration and invasion?




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  9. TangoMan says:
  10. JKB says:

    Which would beg the question why they felt they needed to pass a law in the first place.

    Well, the point is, how can the federal government get an injunction for a strictly state matter, that is traffic laws and governance of state and local law enforcement.? The law was passed to make a few state offenses predicate on being in violation of federal immigration law and to establish that state and local agencies cannot adopt a sanctuary policy of not following up on reasonable suspicion of unauthorized presence.

    The law doesn’t interfere with federal law or enforcement other than AZ will be referring more suspected unauthorized aliens to ICE. Which appears, according to Ann Althouse, to be the gist of the lawsuit. Namely, a flood of enforcement by Arizona will cause ICE to have to process referred cases which will detriment the efforts to keep Canadians at bay or something.

    AZ passed the law because they needed certain state statutes to force agencies to get serious about immigration enforcement acting as permitted by federal law and to make certain state laws that are predicate on federal law to permit state action against offenders.




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  11. floyd says:

    Micheal ;
    Your obsession with race has reared it’s ugly head again, since you obviously can’t substantiate anything you have said against Tangoman.
    Your ramblings smack of the same racist tactic of which you are so commonly prone…
    Surely not everyone who disagrees with you is a degenerate or a racist.




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  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    Actually, here I am right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCcHiX_lcpY

    Also here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFMisREpVS0

    And here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjbZGdriC_I

    Funny, how I don’t have to hide who I am. But TangoBrimelow does.




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  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    Floyd:

    No, for example, I have no reason to believe that you’re a racist.

    I also don’t believe for a minute that Joyner is, or Mataconis, or Knapp, or Schuler, or Taylor, or Verdon. I also don’t think George Will is a racist, or Rick Moran, or Mitt Romney, or Newt Gingrich, or Ronald Reagan, or George W. Bush or his father, George HW Bush, or Lindsay Graham, or John McCain.

    I could go on.

    But TangoMan is a hardcore, dedicated racist from VDARE, whose only reason for coming here is to peddle his racist theories.




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  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    Pete:

    I think the feds need to deal with this. We’ve had bipartisan legislation proposed in the past, and I think some of those bills had very good elements.

    I do think we need a fence or equivalent. Good fences make good neighbors. I don’t believe any fence will be 100%, but 50% would be a big improvement.

    I think we need a rational guest worker program.

    We need serious employer sanctions, and efforts to close down illegal employment markets for labor — your average Home Depot parking lot.

    We need a humane way to provide a path to citizenship for illegals who’ve been in the US for a while, and especially those who have American children.

    I think the AZ law is a consequence of federal incompetence and indifference. I’d like to see Dems and Reps work together. But right now Republicans are prepared to demagogue the solutions they themselves offered in the past.

    The entire immigration process is absurdly complicated and needs to be rationalized.




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  15. anjin-san says:

    Enjoyed hearing you talk about your work Michael, good stuff.




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  16. anjin-san says:

    Can anyone here explain the difference between immigration and invasion?

    Hmmm. I Have it. Invasion is what we did to Mexico when we were taking a large chunk of their country in a war of conquest?




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  17. anjin-san says:

    Now how about a little rock & roll?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0VpKyEFd3g




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  18. AllenS says:

    You said: “our political leaders will have the courage to actually put together a rational immigration reform plan.”

    What the hell does that mean? We have immigration laws and rules to follow now. Don’t you understand that?




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  19. superdestroyer says:

    One has to love how the Obama Administration (I suspect that Axelrod is the driving force on this) has decided that enforcing immigration laws is racist and cannot be done.

    I guess the Democrats have decided that appeal to middle class whites is just to hard and has decided to replace them with millions of illiterate, third world immigrants who will support high taxes, big government, and the nanny state.

    One has to love how the leadership in the Democratic Party has joined with the La Raza Republicans to turn the U.S. into a third world country with a small Patron class of prep school, Ivy educate rulers, and a massive number of poor, illiterate peons who will support them.

    I guess that crunching sound everyone hears is the white middle class being thrown under the bus to keep the elites in power.




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  20. Dave Schuler says:

    Michael:

    The bulk of the text of the Arizona law is devoted to just two matters: prohibiting the illegal employment markets you mention in your post and preventing jurisdictions within Arizona from declaring themselves sanctuaries for illegals. The part that’s being complained about is a very small portion of the whole statute.

    Doug:

    Having read the statute and the complaint it seems to me that the federal government’s case is quite weak. They appear to be complaining not that Arizona’s statute is attempting to override federal law but that Arizona’s statute is attempting to override federal policy, a rather different matter.




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  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    Dave:

    I know. I actually have a lot of sympathy for portions of the AZ law. I understand the frustration. And I think the federal government is failing to carry out its responsibilities. Where they lose me and cross the line into self-defeating and pandering is in requirements on police to report any illegal. How are police going to do their primary jobs under those circumstances?




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  22. JKB says:
  23. G.A.Phillips says:

    lol, Liberals, so much judgment.

    I don’t have any reason to think that anyone who votes for an abortionist knows that their a raciest because they don’t know poop about history and are perversely indoctrinated.

    But I ‘ll bet you my last dollar that regardless of what color they are that they hate them some rich white people and some Christians.

    Even when they themselves are rich white people, and think that they are Christians.

    I think the hard core racism these days are things like murdering one out of every two black babies. using black and mexicans for votes, hating people because they are a certian color.

    but thats just me.




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  24. wr says:

    GA — I think you’ve been spending too much time watching Sarah Palin videos. Although your ideology has always been absurd, you used to be able to write a sentence in English. Sentences like this:

    I don’t have any reason to think that anyone who votes for an abortionist knows that their a raciest because they don’t know poop about history and are perversely indoctrinated.

    should be cause for an Arizona cop to question whether you are actually a US citizen and put you in a holding cell until you can prove it.




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