Key component of Arizona immigration law on hold as debate over states rights ensues

In what has been one of the most debated questions in American political history, the question over state and federal authority is still at the forefront of American political discourse, some 222 years after the ratification of the Constitution.

In this instance, the issue centers over immigration and the power of an individual state to enforce immigration law. Specifically, can local law enforcement officers in Arizona check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws?

A federal judge has recently blocked this portion of a sweeping new immigration law in the state of Arizona. The law is designed to seek out and deport illegal immigrants and has ignited strong arguments on both sides of the issue.

In her decision, Federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton stated that, “requiring Arizona law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked,” she said.

Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has said she would appeal the Federal District Court ruling.

Both President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have maintained that Immigration policy is under the purview of the federal government, not the individual states.

Tully Rinckey Partner John Mahoney agreed. “I generally agree with the United States’ position on this issue, which is that immigration law and its enforcement is a federal question that the States should be preempted from legislating about or enforcing.”

The matter will now go before the Federal Appellate Court with some legal experts saying it could make its way to the Supreme Court.

For more information on John Mahoney, go to www.fedattorney.com/jmahoney.html

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Profile Photo Tricia

Where is the Federal government to enforce it?? Not here in Arizona helping to secure our borders. Their lack of action affects the state – its citizens and government (our budget!).

Profile Photo Peter Sperry

““I generally agree with the United States’ position on this issue, which is that immigration law and its enforcement is a federal question that the States should be preempted from legislating about or enforcing.””

How would this logic apply to state laws regarding controlled substances? Are all state laws regarding banking and financial fraud invalid because the SEC has primary jurisdiction in these areas? Are state prohibited from checking for out of state warrants when the detain a suspect because interstate flight to avoid prosecution is a federal not a state crime? Can state or local law enforcement inquire into the origins of underage sex workers since human trafficking is, again, a federal not a state offense? Or is it only criminal offenses deemed harmless by the social elites and not enforced by the federal government that are off limits to state and local governments?

BTW, how would the Secret Service react if a governor or mayor declined to provide local law enforcement assistance for a presidential visit on the grounds that only the federal government had jurisdiction?

Good lawyers may take pride in being able to argue both sides of an issue but even the most knowledgeable legal expert can only support the federal position by turning logic upside down and making a mockery of the law.