Nine states file brief supporting Arizona immigration law
On Wednesday, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox filed an amicus brief, which includes eight other states, in federal court supporting Arizona's recently passed immigration law against a lawsuit filed by the Obama administration that seeks to overturn the law. Also, the Washington-based National League of Cities (NLC) has passed a resolution renewing its call for comprehensive immigration reform.
Florida, Alabama, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands joined the Michigan brief, which argues that states have the right to pass laws like Arizona's. The Arizona law allows law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they have a "reasonable suspicion" are in the country illegally. "Arizona, Michigan and every other state have the authority to enforce immigration laws, and it is appalling to see President Obama use taxpayer dollars to stop a state's efforts to protect its own borders," Cox said in a statement. "My mother was a legal immigrant who faithfully carried her green card with her for years before gaining citizenship — it certainly is not too much to ask legal immigrants to do the same today."
On July 6, 2010, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder filed a lawsuit against Arizona and the state's governor, Jan Brewer, on behalf of Obama to stop implementation of the state's new immigration law. In its suit, the Obama administration alleges that Arizona's law is preempted by federal law and seeks an injunction preventing its enforcement. "Arizonans are understandably frustrated with illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to comprehensively address those concerns," Holder said in a statement on his website. "Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility. Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves."
The amicus brief, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, defends the states' authority to concurrently enforce federal immigration laws. "Under the current situation, the states have lost control over their borders and are left to guess at the reality of the law," said a statement on Cox's website.
At the conclusion of its summer meeting in Riverside, Calif., held July 8-10, NLC's Board of Directors voiced its opposition to the Arizona law and renewed its call for Congress and the Obama administration to act immediately to enact comprehensive immigration reform. "It is important the nation adopt an immigration policy that advances the highest and best interests of all residents," NLC President and Riverside Mayor Ronald Loveridge said in a statement. "Immigration has supported our nation over many decades and has been a source for economic growth and innovation for our cities and the nation. The debate over the Arizona law underscores the urgent need to move forward now with comprehensive reform at the federal level."
In its resolution, NLC says comprehensive immigration reform legislation should provide greater border security and enforcement; recognize the human and civil rights of both citizens and non-citizens; strengthen penalties against employers who knowingly employ undocumented workers; create a program for the admission of temporary workers based upon the needs of the economy and which would, over time, qualify the workers for legal permanent residency; provide adequate fiscal support for city and state governments that are shouldering the costs of the current immigration system; and establish a process whereby the 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States may earn legalized status through payment of appropriate fees and back taxes, background checks, absence of criminal or gang activity, consistent work history, meeting English and civics requirements, and "waiting their place in line."
Read Cox's entire statement on the Michigan amicus brief, and read Holder's statement on filing the federal lawsuit. Also, download NLC's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Resolution, which is on p. 10 of a document containing other resolutions.