ABA Disputes Arizona Immigration Provisions in Brief to High Court
Citing its expertise in immigration law and experience in immigration detainee programs, the American Bar Association is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that four provisions of Arizona’s controversial anti-illegal immigration law, known as S.B. 1070, are unconstitutional because they are pre-empted by federal immigration law.
The four provisions were enjoined by lower federal court rulings before the law went into effect. In an amicus brief filed late Monday in State of Arizona et al. v. United States of America, the ABA urges affirmance of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, stating that none of these provisions can be implemented by Arizona without inevitably conflicting with the federal system of statutes and regulations that is carried out by federal agencies and specialized courts.
“The ABA urges this Court to conclude that the four enjoined provisions of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 are preempted because immigration law and policy are and must remain uniquely federal, with states having no role in immigration enforcement except pursuant to federal authorization and oversight,” the ABA states.
Significantly informing the ABA’s brief, and the ABA policy on which it is based, was the experience of the ABA Commission on Immigration in establishing and operating pro bono service programs for immigration detainees in South Texas, Seattle and San Diego. The ABA also included in its arguments the commission’s 2010 study, Reforming the Immigration System.
Utah, Georgia, Indiana and South Carolina are among states that are contemplating or have joined Arizona in passing immigration laws, the ABA notes.
“If enforcement of state laws that are inconsistent with federal immigration law and policy is permitted,” the brief warns, “the result will be a patchwork of statutes and regulations under which decisions about arrest and detention may well depend on whether enforcement activity is being conducted directly by federal authorities, by a state under federal supervision, or by a state under its own, possibly unique, immigration laws.”
The brief is available online here. Oral arguments are scheduled for April 25.