Thursday, September 20th 2018

Arizona Immigration Update: Federal Lawsuit Aims To Strike Down Law

With the Arizona immigration law set to go into effect July 29, many people are still confused and divided about the issue that has been making headlines for months. Some have called the new law mandated racial profiling, while others have praised the state for stepping forward in a time of much needed immigration reform. Add a federal lawsuit to the mix and you have one very hot political topic. But does the law have any standing when faced against the federal government?

The law requires Arizona police officers to question a person’s citizenship if they suspect that person is here illegally. The law also requires legal immigrants to carry their papers or documentation proving they are in fact U.S. citizens. Although there are arguable human right issues being violated here involving civil rights and racial profiling, the White House is focusing on other arguments to strike the measure down.

So what main arguments will the federal government use in their case against Arizona? Does a state even have a right to create and enforce such a law or does that power reside solely in the federal government? The government hopes to address this question with a focus on constitutional concerns regarding the balance of power between states and the federal government. Generally the preemption argument is that federal law trumps state law. After all, it was the framers who said that Federal law “shall be the supreme law of the land.” But despite the precedent of the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, the federal lawsuit is not a sure winner in this controversial topic.

In fact, two previous cases seem to support Arizona’s position on immigration enforcement policies. The Supreme Court case Muehler v. Mena ruled that police do not need any specific reason such as probable cause to ask an individual about their immigration status. The ruling has already taken effect in the state Rhode Island where procedures similar to those in the Arizona law are already taking place (Estrada v. Rhode Island). So why isn’t the federal government suing the state of Rhode Island?  Has a lack of national attention simply overlooked Rhode Island?

Whether the final decision in the lawsuit comes down to the Supremacy Clause or reflects a similar ruling to that of Muehler v. Mena, the country itself still seems undecided on the issue. A recent CBS News poll says that 57 percent of Americans think the Arizona Immigration law is “about right” in addressing illegal immigration while the other 43 percent don’t agree or are not sure. Where do you stand on the issue? Do you think the Federal government is right in their approach to try and strike down Arizona’s law? What is your take on the human right issues at hand?

Posted by Rachel on July 19, 2010 at 4:03pm.

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