A brief filed today with the U.S. Supreme Court argues that Arizona’s contested state law allowing law-enforcement officers to ask about the legal status of people they encounter is justified because of the virtual “invasion” of the state by outsiders.
“As provided in the Constitution, the power to repel against invasions was … granted to both the federal and the state governments,” stated the brief filed by Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch.
“This action is consistent with the notion that the federal and state governments are both sovereign bodies within the United States,” the brief explained. “Furthermore, the state of Arizona, with its general police power, a power the Founding Fathers intentionally did not give to the federal government, surely has the power to protect the health, safety and welfare of those residing within its borders.”
At issue before the high court is HB 1070. It was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer in April 2010, only to have the Obama administration sue three months later to block it from taking effect. Oral arguments are pending before the court.
According to documents in the case, the cost of illegal immigration into the United States is estimated at some $100 billion, and state and local governments bear about $80 billion of the load.
The Obama administration, which contends regulating immigration is the job of the federal government not the states, also filed lawsuits against similar laws in Alabama, South Carolina and Utah.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco earlier said a judge was right to halt enforcement of the Arizona law. Among the blocked provisions are a requirement that all immigrants carry immigration registration papers, one making it a criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to work in the state and another allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.
Klayman noted that Arizona’s passage of the act sought to enforce federal immigration laws by enabling state officers to verify the immigration status of people suspected of being in the country illegally.
The Freedom Watch statement said the Obama Justice Department has “miserably failed” in securing the borders of Arizona and other states.
The group said Arizona was left with no choice but to take charge when faced with the invasion of tens of thousands of illegal aliens, some carrying guns and running drug cartel operations.
Klayman explained that the state has the authority.
He said states are granted the right to defend in the case of a “large scale invasion” and also when there is imminent danger.
“The state of Arizona faces a serious danger from the drug cartels and smugglers crossing over from Mexico. Thousands are killed near the border every year by the drug cartels, and there is an immediate danger of these crimes crossing over into the United States.”
Klayman pointed out that the state of New York has approved authorization for officers to “shoot down airplanes in order to defend against terrorist threats.” But he noted the Obama Justice Department “has chosen not to file suit against New York.
“President Obama, much like he did with Obamacare, is trying to ram its non-existent immigration enforcement policies down the throats of the American people and will stop at nothing to further illegal immigration to pander to elements of the electorate. This lack of enforcement is intended to benefit him and his Democratic Party during the period leading up to the 2012 elections,” said Klayman.
“With Congress and the executive branch unwilling or unable to provide for additional defenses of the southern border, Arizona is left with no choice but to act. It is clearly within the power of a state to provide for the safety of its citizens.”
Freedom Watch was filing on its own behalf.
“Our argument is clear: Arizona has the constitutional authority to implement policies to protect its borders and citizens – policies that mirror federal immigration law and incorporate federal standards,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ.
“Because of the federal government’s inaction in dealing with illegal immigrants, Arizona passed and signed into law S.B. 1070, a constitutionally sound measure that is consistent, and does not conflict, with federal law. This case is being closely watched by many states facing similar concerns as Arizona. It’s clear that nearly 60 members of Congress and more than 65-thousand Americans understand that Arizona’s law is not only proper, but permissible under the Constitution as well. We’re hopeful the high court will reach that conclusion.”
The ACLJ brief alleges a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit should be reversed “because it exalts administrative ‘priorities and strategies’ over Congress’s clear and manifest intent to welcome state involvement in the enforcement of federal immigration law.”
The brief argues the appeals court decision “sets up an untenable conflict between congressional immigration policy and administrative ‘priorities’ that the separation of powers doctrine requires the administration to lose.”
The ACLJ simply said Arizona was right.
“Although states may not pass laws setting immigration policy, they may pass harmonious laws that further Congress’s purposes. Because S.B. 1070 is fully consonant with federal immigration laws, mirroring their standards and definitions, it is not preempted. The Ninth Circuit’s decision to the contrary is based on conjured conflicts that have no basis in statutory language or other congressionally established immigration policy.”
The ACLJ represents dozens of members of Congress: Trent Franks, Jim DeMint, David Vitter, Robert Aderholt, Michele Bachmann, Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, Mo Brooks, Paul Broun, Michael Burgess, Dan Burton, Ken Calvert, John Culberson, John Duncan, John Fleming, Bill Flores, Randy Forbes, Virginia Foxx, Scott Garrett, Phil Gingrey, Paul Gosar, Ralph Hall, Lynn Jenkins, Walter Jones, Jim Jordan, Mike Kelly, Steve King, Adam Kinzinger, John Kline, Doug Lamborn, Jeff Landry, James Lankford, Robert Latta, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Don Manzullo, Kenny Marchant, Tom McClintock, Jeff Miller, Tim Murphy, Sue Myrick, Alan Nunnelee, Joe Pitts, Ted Poe, Mike Pompeo, Ben Quayle, Phil Roe, Dana Rohrabacher, Dennis Ross, Ed Royce, Jean Schmidt, David Schweikert, Lamar Smith, Cliff Stearns, Lynn Westmoreland, Ed Whitfield, and Rob Woodall.