United States v Arizona

The United States of America today filed suit against the state of Arizona and its governor, Janice Brewer, in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. The Complaint can be read here and it makes a persuasive case that the Arizona law is unconstitutional on a number of grounds.

Here are the requests for relief at the end of the Complaint:

WHEREFORE, the United States respectfully requests the following relief:
1. A declaratory judgment stating that Sections 1-6 of S.B. 1070 are invalid, null, and
2. A preliminary and a permanent injunction against the State of Arizona, and its
officers, agents, and employees, prohibiting the enforcement of Sections 1-6 of S.B. 1070;
3. That this Court award the United States its costs in this action; and
4. That this Court award any other relief it deems just and proper.

15 Responses to United States v Arizona

  1. C R Krieger says:

    Or not.

    But, then, I am not a lawyer.

    On the other hand, I am thinking this is more about garnering votes, long term, than it is about Arizona violating the (overworked) Interstate Commerce Clause.

    Regards  —  Cliff

  2. Joan H says:

    I’m on Arizona’s side . Maybe Obama needs to take a good look at the millions of dollars illegals are costing us – money that could be better spent taking care of the legal residents needs for housing, jobs and medical needs. The law only applies to legal stops for traffic and suspected crime anyway. What’s wrong with enforcing traffic and criminal laws.

  3. JoeS says:

    “suspected” crime can be very ambiguous, and misused if the process is not controlled.

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

  4. Righty Bulger says:

    Right on, Joe. In fact, let’s continue ensuring illegals receive more rights than legal citizens and residents. I mean, who among us wouldn’t want the right not to pay taxes or file annual returns. The right to illegally obtained social security numbers also comes in handy when trying to avoid the legal system. The right to free emergeny room care is another “God given” right, especially if you don’t have to pay for insurance like the rest of us in Massachusetts are forced to.

    Did I miss any other rights that society must endure the costs of so illegals don’t get stopped for unfair suspicion?

  5. The Mark says:

    Heard this on the radio this morning from a caller to a talk show I’ll paraphrase. “I find it odd that the Federal Government is suing a state for passing a law that enforces something already on the federal books that only effects their (Arizona) boundries, moreover I find it odd that the Federal Government isn’t suing “sanctuary cities” for not arresting and deporting illegals. So the message from the Obama Administration is we’ll sue you for enforcing the law- we don’t if you don’t.” I think this guy’s on to something.

    Righty did you forget that when the new Obama/Federal Healthcare comes online Mass residents that already pay a whole lot for their healthcare (with the mandated care and all) have to pay more into the federal pool even though we’re all already covered by either private or MA-care.


  6. Andrew says:

    It’s interesting that the caller brought up the fact that it is the Federal government that has the Constitutional right to regulate immigration, but was confused as to why Arizona, a state, cannot.

    The issue is not whether Arizona’s law is the answer to our immigration problem. The issue at hand is one of Constitutional supremacy. States simply do not have the right to usurp rights reserved to the federal government simply because they think the federal government is not dealing with the issue.

    Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution specifically says: “The Congress shall have Power…To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization…” The Supreme Court has ruled that this extends to immigration (see Hampton v. Mow Sun Wong from 1976).

    Arizona’s law in unconstitutional. It’s pretty simple.

    And if you’re frustrated with how the federal government has handled immigration, the Obama Administration shouldn’t be your target. One of the few policy decisions made by President Bush that I respect was his attempt to reform our immigration policies. If I remember correctly, he worked closely with Senator Kennedy on it. The attempt failed. Anyone want to guess which party refused to cooperate?

    The Obama Administration has been tripping over themselves to say that immigration is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with. Arizona’s law is at best a distraction from dealing with the problem in a constitutional manner.

  7. The Mark says:

    So then we should all wait and let the federal government rescue us? If we’re going to get into a who’s is bigger contest between the states and feds why pass any state laws at all?

  8. DickH says:

    The Constitution invests the Federal government with exclusive control over immigration and naturalization. When a state passes a law that supplants that Federal power, the state’s actions are unconstitutional. Since the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, violating the Constitution is breaking the law. To the supporters of Arizona, WHAT PART OF ILLEGAL DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  9. C R Krieger says:

    How about Article I, Section 10, Clause 3?

    “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”

    Besides, Arizona is not supplanting the authority of the Federal Government, but rather helping out.  Should not Arizona, and other states, be cooperating with the Federal Government in enforcing the law?

    Regards  —  Cliff

  10. C R Krieger says:

    A friend of mine asked if the Administration was suing Arizona so that it (or is it they) didn’t have to enforce the law.  Would that be a violation of the US Constitution, Article II, Section 3, Clause 4?

    “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, …”

    Regards  —  Cliff

  11. Andrew says:

    I’m not the resident lawyer on the blog, but two things strike me about your first comment Cliff. First, Arizona is not cooperating in enforcing federal law; they’ve written their own. Second, I’m fairly certain that, even if it were trying to enforce federal law, Arizona would be in violation of the Constitution. The right is reserved for the federal government. Whether the federal government is being competent or not, the state doesn’t have a right to take over that role.

    The first part of that responds to your second comment I think.

    As I said in an earlier comment, the federal government has completely dropped the ball on immigration. However, if we are going to have this discussion it needs to face reality. We simply can’t afford to deport all of the illegals in the United States. In addition, racial profiling has an equal success rate to random chance; in other words, it doesn’t work. So Arizona’s law isn’t the answer.

    The Arizona law is an abomination; I have friends from the southwest who are afraid of entering Arizona. They were born here; their parents were legal immigrants. No American citizen should be afraid of their government, whether it be state or federal.

    Building a fence isn’t going to help much. The only suggestion that seems to have any serious merit is helping to build up Latin American economies. If there are jobs there, the immigrants will stop. That seems to be the price we’ll have to pay if we want to end illegal immigration.

    I’m not particularly optimistic about us finding a solution to this problem; most of the debate is dominated by empty rhetoric advocating non-solutions and barely veiled racism, not serious suggestions for solving the problem. But maybe Congress will finally act.

  12. DickH says:

    The reason I linked to the Complaint in my initial post is that it does a very good job of describing the complexities of Federal immigration policy. To say the government is not enforcing the law when it comes to swooping in and arresting/deporting a grandmother who has overstayed her visa is to cherry-pick a single strand of this issue. As the United States makes plain in its case against the Arizona, Federal immigration policy is a blend of foreign policy, national security, commerce, allocation of enforcement/intelligence resources and protection of the rights of US citizens and resident aliens. Our national government maintains a delicate balance among all of these considerations and to have 50 states free lancing will shatter that balance.

    Many of you disagree with the balance that has been struck, but since we live in a Democracy, the proper way to change Federal policy is to replace those making that policy through the ballot box, not to upend the Constitution just because you disagree with the way it is being executed at this point in time.

    And to those who seem to delight in demonizing “illegals”, a couple of points: people who come here illegally do so to find work. Their availability as cheap labor greatly enriches their employers who spend part of their gains to ensure that Congress stays paralyzed on this issue. Until people who hire illegal immigrants are forced to pay a steep price – including incarceration – the enormous savings of illegal labor will always win out. My suggestion is to direct some of your ire at the employers – if there are no jobs, those here illegally won’t stay long. The “come to America illegally and live a life of luxury on the public dole” refrain is of the same DNA as Ronald Reagan’s “Cadillac-driving welfare queen” fantasy.

    As for the cost of providing medical care to those who are here illegally, I suspect the most radical among the anti-illegal crowd would not deprive a sick person of necessary medical care. You might huff and puff about doing it from your keyboard, but were you truly in a position to decide, none of you would be so inhumane as to withhold care. Besides, whatever we spend in providing medical care to illegal immigrants is only a fraction of a percent of what we spend on nursing home care for middle and upper class folks who could afford to pay for themselves but who have successfully hid their assets to qualify for Medicaid. Just another example of my theory that when an expenditure of tax dollars benefits you, it’s good government; when it benefits someone unlike you, it’s socialism.

  13. C R Krieger says:

    Immigration reform is the solution, but Dick suggests it is being thwarted by businesses who hire aliens&mdahs;but to do it they would have to be fairly large businesses, since small ones can’t afford to buy Congressmen.

    I have previously suggested my proposal, on my own blog site, which I am asked to register as I comment here:

    1)  Legalize drugs.  The violence people are concerned about has to do with the smuggling of drugs (and people).  We are talking armed gangs.  We are talking armed enforcement, which is creeping across the border.

    2)  A “Marshall Plan” for Mexico.

    3)  For a reasonable fee, offer illegal immigrants (of whom only 65% are from Mexico—although other groups do pass through Mexico to get here) a path to citizenship, but not ahead of those who are doing it illegally.  More than the illegality of it all, I strongly dislike the queue jumping aspect of it.  In offering citizenship in this special way, I would like to have a promise that they really wish to be citizens of the US, so part of the bargin would be for these new citizens to have to renounce their Mexican/other citizenship and loyalties.  For those who don’t wish to go the citizenship route, I would offer, for a reasonable fee a long term worker visa, but without social security retirement and with a deal with Mexico/Other nation that the person return home with some worker compensation in the event of injury, but not a lifetime stipend.  For those who wish neither, I recommend tracking them down and deporting them.

    Of course there is a problem with my solution.  We lose the cheap labor.

    And I still believe Arizona is under the threat of invasion and help is too far away.  So, the Federal suit should fail.  (Are criminal enterprises really just another form of NGO?  I hope they are not QANGOs.)

    Regards  —  Cliff

  14. C R Krieger says:

    Andrew’s friends seem a little over the top…

    “The Arizona law is an abomination; I have friends from the southwest who are afraid of entering Arizona. They were born here; their parents were legal immigrants. No American citizen should be afraid of their government, whether it be state or federal.”

    We are not yet like WEST Germany in the 1960s, where my wife and I had to turn in our passports when we checked into a hotel when traveling.  The hotel then took them to the police station.  Everywhere we traveled.  Since then things have become more relaxed.

    When I was stations at Craig AFB, just outside Selma, Alabama, in 1964/5, we had a chap in “B” Class, just behind my 66A Class (we graduated in Fiscal Year 1966, back when the Fiscal Year changed on 1 July of the year), who was a West Point graduate who had taken his commission in the Air Force.  He was Black and, being a typical Academy graduate, had a shiny new sports car.  In his case it was a Jag.  His story was that on his way down to Craig Field every State Trooper in Alabama pulled him over.  WIth his military ID card there was never any additional problem.  I would think that a Harvard ID Card would work the same way.  While Harvard may be no West Point, it is still a pretty well known University and the second oldest on this continent.

    As for the “Foreign Students” going through pilot training at Craig AFB, they had a card, signed by then Governor George Wallace, saying they were personal guests of the State of Alabama.  As I recall, we had students from Iran, Pakistan and, from Afghanistan, Mohammed Nobbi.

    One of the Pakistani students turned his foreign status to his advantage.  For some reason he had to go to City Hall in Selma and when he arrived he parked in the Sheriff’s slot.  When he came out he was getting a ticket.  So, dropping his perfect English and going to broken English he asked what the officer was doing.  When he got the explanation he responded with an argument that this was his parking slot since this is America and everyone gets their own parking slot and his name was Sherrif—produce ID card—and this was his parking slot.  In the end the ticket was torn up—probably because the cop thought it was the best story he had ever heard.

    Regards  —  Cliff