Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Federal Government Sues Arizona

The Federal Government filed a lawsuit against Arizona over its law requiring police to inquire into the immigration status of a person if the police have a reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant. The lawsuit contends that the Arizona law has been pre-empted by the comprehensive set of immigration laws promulgated by Congress.

In my humble opinion, I do not think the Arizona law can withstand a challenge from the Federal Government. The reason is that the Constitution clearly makes immigration a federal issue. In fact, immigration has to be a federal issue. The country simply cannot have one set of immigration rules at work in Arizona, and another set in place in Nebraska. Immigration must be a unified national policy.

The pre-emption doctrine provides that where a subject is within the authority of the Federal Government, and Congress has occupied the field by passing a comprehensive legal framework, states are not free to adopt their own laws on the subject. There is a comprehensive legal framework in place. The Department of Homeland Security is clearly tasked with enforcing U.S. immigration laws. The Constitution provides that the laws passed by Congress are the Supreme Law of the Land. Therefore, I do not believe that there is any room for the states to adopt their own immigration rules.

Interestingly, this is the same issue that led to our civil war; namely whether a state can trump the Federal Government by passing its own law that is inconsistent with Federal law. Just as the South was wrong then, Arizona is wrong now.

No comments:

Post a Comment