Oh, I didn't realize this sort of link auto-inserted... Wow. U.S. v. Arizona - Complaint Filed 7-6-2010
As I understand it, the Arizona effort attempted (and at least for now, failed) to make it a state requirement for many or all Hispanics (effectively) to carry documentation of their citizenship at all times. Such a state requirement would violate equal protection by actively making a specific population more vulnerable to interference. It doesn't matter who is legal. Commit any crime whatsoever, and you are also held for immigration checks until proven innocent. Who is most likely to be presumed guilty until reviewed for immigration with no other cause? Hispanics. (Bolding in the quotes is mine.)
It will cause the detention and harassment of authorized visitors, immigrants, and citizens who do not have or carry identification documents specified by the statute, or who otherwise will be swept into the ambit of S.B. 1070’s “attrition through enforcement” approach.
It also attempted to force local police to act on immigration law in a way that the federal government was not encouraging them to do, by explicitly making them liable to lawsuits. This meant that the state would actually encourage anyone with the money, to go to court against local authorities in order to each argue their own
interpretation of who should be merely "suspect" of immigration violations. This means that there would not be one criteria for how people should be investigated for immigration violations. There could be a slew of individual court cases constantly challenging standards in each town, or even each case. Even before the fact, some local police stated flat out that they would refuse such a directive, and some parties expressed their intention to sue them.
The Constitution and the federal immigration laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country... Implementation of the law will damage the United States' ability to speak with a single and authoritative voice to foreign governments on immigration matters…
Zak, Ruby, Lyell, I can't support certain premises: 1) That every law could be enforced in equal intensity, 2) that a law can stand without regard for other laws and policies, or 3) that discretionary application is really unique to this situation (or perhaps, less acceptable here than elsewhere). Although it’s certainly possible to interpret the Tenth Amendment too broadly and say the states do whatever they want in the name of enforcing a particular federal policy, in order to rationalize AZ's formalizing a policy of rather indiscriminate sweep... The particular sense of “action” Arizona has chosen undermines civil rights for legal citizens, weakens relations with Mexico, and so far harms the economy to boot. All of those are valid federal matters. These priorities also suggest possible reasons why the federal enforcement has been as limited as it has to date. Yes, it is up to Washington which receives what kind of treatment, and when. Unless one prefers to secede. Argue about effectiveness of various Executive (or Congressional) directives as you will, but that doesn’t make for legality.
19. In crafting federal immigration law and policy, Congress has necessarily taken into account multiple and often competing national interests. Assuring effective enforcement of the provisions against illegal migration and unlawful presence is a highly important interest, but it is not the singular goal of the federal immigration laws. The laws also take into account other uniquely national interests, including facilitating trade and commerce; welcoming those foreign nationals who visit or immigrate lawfully and ensuring their fair and equitable treatment wherever they may reside; responding to humanitarian concerns at the global and individual levels; and otherwise ensuring that the treatment of aliens present in our nation does not harm our foreign relations with the countries from which they come or jeopardize the treatment of U.S. citizens abroad. Because immigration control and management is “a field where flexibility and the adaptation of the congressional policy to infinitely variable conditions constitute the essence of the program,” U.S. ex rel. Knauff v. Shaughnessy, 338 U.S. 537, 543 (1950) (internal citations omitted), Congress vested substantial discretion in the President and the administering federal agencies to adjust the balance of these multiple interests as appropriate – both globally and in individual cases.
It would also be disingenuous to suggest that uncomfortable juggling of immigration etc. is something unique to the Obama administration. Bush Jr., for one, tried to balance amnesty with added troops and walls. When Republicans were in office, it was all “the decider,” but now that Obama shows up, hear the screams for
“more bipartisanship please” or else, oh it’s all “the dictator” and “a federal takeover.” I’m still not impressed by the arguments at hand. Argue about the money if you must (or human rights if you can), but the “enforcing law and order” rhetoric is a blunt and piggish instrument as applied by the right in this case. The premises are awkward to begin with. Unless the point is to stir up anti-federal sentiment? Then they’re lovely. But the issue is not nearly as easy as that logic suggests.
The federal government is apparently more interested in processing illegals associated with specific types of crime. People with a history who authorities have taken some time to also build a serious immigration case against. That is, not merely those picked up on the street for some minor violation, and then threatened with deportation on top of it. The feds are not interested in receiving a large number of people against whom Arizona may have no more complaint than lack of documentation and undefined "suspicion." Or perhaps all they have is “fleeing arrest,” if that person just really didn’t want to be held up in the police station today…
In exercising its significant enforcement discretion, the federal government prioritizes for arrest, detention, prosecution, and removal those aliens who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety. Consistent with these enforcement priorities, the federal government principally targets aliens engaged in or suspected of terrorism or espionage; aliens convicted of crimes, with a particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders; certain gang members; aliens subject to outstanding criminal warrants; and fugitive aliens, especially those with criminal records.
Perhaps if Arizona could do any better in proposing a program that would actually uphold civil rights and not exacerbate so many other federal issues, the response would be different. I don’t think the political reception for Hispanics is ideal as things are, and I believe some of the illegal workers face very exploitative conditions. But I also think this law creates ever wider problems in the current environment. In the process, it tries to make AZ exceptional and thus challenges DC for jurisdiction. It may not even work the issue it claims to address, say if people go underground well or when various local courts maintain separate definitions of acceptable detention.
If the argument is going to be about upholding federal law, then Arizona has to uphold all
concerns of law in the federal system. It has to positively account for civil rights. They should not be creating a situation where the center says, you’re both stepping into trade and diplomacy and
not heeding current agency policy on immigration.
16. The Constitution affords the President of the United States the authority to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” U.S. Const., art. II § 3. Further, the President has broad authority over foreign affairs. Immigration law, policy, and enforcement priorities are affected by and have impacts on U.S. foreign policy, and are themselves the subject of diplomatic arrangements.
Add to that: If they’re going to make a state law encouraging action on any particular federal law, it must be able to specify how police could equitably include (or exclude!) people as suspects.
Now I don’t know that laws in general do that so elegantly, really… Still, the Arizona move neglects those conditions so much, that it seems designed more to stir up xenophobia than to affect the issues. I suppose if it were fully allowed (setting aside later civil rights suits), it might lead Washington to raise legal immigration quotas from South Asia. Unless the national economy changes drastically, it’s just another gasp of “invasion” from a bloc that can’t seem to maintain
anything domestically. States don’t get to decide what is invasion, though. Washington does.