Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration law, S.B. 1070, is going to the Supreme Court, and with it, the backing of 59 U.S. congressman – including presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. – and nearly 60,000 Americans who have signed on to an amicus brief defending the law.
The American Center for Law and Justice is filing the amicus brief in the battle between the state of Arizona and the Obama administration over whether state authorities, or only the federal government, have the right to enforce immigration law.
In addition to the congessmen named in the amicus brief, the ACLJ is representing more than 57,000 Americans who have signed on to the ACLJ’s Committee to Protect America’s Border.
“S.B. 1070 reflects a sensible and constitutional method for Arizona to protect its citizens and borders from illegal immigrants,” argues Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ. “This is a critical case that will have a tremendous impact on the growing number of states seeking to enact laws that protect their borders and citizens. Arizona’s measure is not only appropriate and proper, it mirrors federal immigration law and incorporates federal standards.
“With the high court agreeing to now hear the case, we will file an amicus brief – once again representing members of Congress and thousands of Americans – urging the justices to uphold the constitutionality the Arizona law,” he concludes.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070 into law in April 2010, only to have the Obama administration sue three months later to block it from taking effect.
“This case is not just about Arizona,” said Brewer, following the Supreme Court’s announcement earlier today that it would hear the case. “It’s about every state grappling with the costs of illegal immigration.”
The amicus brief, in fact, lays out the case that “Of the net national illegal immigration cost of almost $100 billion, the federal government bears only $19.3 billion, while state and local governments bear a net loss of $79.2 billion spent in services and benefits provided to illegal aliens.”
The Obama administration, however, insists that regulating immigration is the job of the federal government, not the states, and has also filed lawsuits against similar laws in Alabama, South Carolina and Utah.
Earlier this year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a federal judge’s ruling halting enforcement of several provisions of Arizona’s law. Among the blocked provisions, the Associated Press reports, are requirements that all immigrants obtain or carry immigration registration papers, making it a criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to work in the state and allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.
Following the court’s announcement, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “We look forward to arguing our point of view in that case when the time comes.”
The ACLJ, however, argues in the amicus brief that the White House really has no grounds for attempting to preempt Arizona’s law, that Congress has already established the states’ authority in immigration enforcement and that the 9th Circuit was wrong to hold the Obama administration’s “enforcement priorities” as greater than an act and intent of Congress.
“The Ninth Circuit’s decision undermines federalist and separation of powers principles by permitting the administration’s policy preferences to trump Congress’ statutory acknowledgement that states have inherent authority to enforce laws that profoundly affect their citizens’ welfare,” the brief alleges. “The Ninth Circuit’s decision effectively leaves the states powerless over unchecked illegal immigration and the associated social and economic costs that their citizens must bear.”