President Obama Sues Arizona

These laws also have the potential of violating the rights of innocent American citizens and legal residents, making them subject to possible stops or questioning because of what they look like or how they sound. And as other states and localities go their own ways, we face the prospect that different rules for immigration will apply in different parts of the country, a patchwork of local immigration rules where we all know one clear national standard is needed. President Barack Obama

July 6, 2010

Today President Barack Obama has sued Arizona over their attempts to target illegal immigrants saying that their law is preempted by federal law.   I hope that Willens, Siemer, Fitial, and Buckingham are taking note of this, because I predict that the CNMI will also be sued.

From USA Today:
"The Constitution and federal law do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country," the lawsuit says.

The suit also asks a judge to block the law before it takes effect on July 29.

...The American Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, said the Arizona law invites "racial profiling" by expanding the right of police officers to ask people about their citizenship.

"The administration's lawsuit is a cannon shot across the bow of other states that may be tempted to follow Arizona's misguided approach," said Lucas Guttentag, Director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.

During his immigration speech last week, Obama said the Arizona law and similar proposals are "understandable," but "also ill-conceived."
The 25-page complaint was filed in the District Court of Arizona and names the State of Arizona and Governor Jan Brewer as defendants.  The lawsuit calls for declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent the law from going into effect.

The lawsuit states:
"In our constitutional system, the federal government has preeminent authority to regulate immigration matters. This authority derives from the United States Constitution and numerous acts of Congress. The nation’s immigration laws reflect a careful and considered balance of national law enforcement, foreign relations, and humanitarian interests. Congress has assigned to the United States Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and Department of State, along with other federal agencies, the task of enforcing and administering these immigration-related laws. In administering these laws, the federal agencies balance the complex – and often competing – objectives that animate federal immigration law and policy. Although states may exercise their police power in a manner that has an incidental or indirect effect on aliens, a state may not establish its own immigration policy or enforce state laws in a manner that interferes with the federal immigration laws. The Constitution and the federal immigration laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country."
CNMI laws, PL 17-1 the Employment Rules and Regulations and the Immigration Conformity Act of 2010 similarly are preempted by federal law. (The difference is that the aliens in the CNMI are legally living and working in the commonwealth and the Arizona lawsuit targets illegal aliens, making the CNMI law even more despicable.)  The CNMI attempts to claim that they can maintain control of immigration by recodification of former immigration laws to become labor laws.

 PL 17-1 is also in conflict with P.L. 110-229, the CNRA, which authorizes a federally run CNMI-only guest worker program. The final DHS regulations for this program are scheduled to be released in September 2010.

The CNMI maintains that it can require aliens to register and pay fees for a CNMI-issued Foreign National Identification Card.  The Arizona lawsuit states:
"Congress has tasked DHS and DOJ with overseeing significant portions of the United States’ immigration interests, and has provided each with specific powers to promote the various goals of the federal immigration scheme and to enforce the federal immigration authority under the INA. See 8 U.S.C. § 1103. The Department of State is also empowered by the INA to administer aspects of the federal immigration laws, including visa programs. 
...DHS is primarily charged with administering and enforcing the INA and other laws relating to immigration, which it accomplishes mainly through its components, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). See 8 U.S.C. § 1103."
Does this sound familiar?  From the lawsuit:
2). S.B. 1070 also creates or amends several state law criminal provisions, which impose criminal penalties for an alien’s failure to federally register or carry his federal registration documents.
The lawsuit challenges Arizona's scheme regarding identification stating:
Section 3 of S.B. 1070 conflicts with and otherwise stands as an obstacle to the full purposes and objectives of Congress in creating a uniform and singular federal alien registration scheme.
No to CNMI-issued Foreign National Identification Cards, a scheme to maintain local control and fill CNMI coffers on the backs of the foreigners.

The CNMI's PL 17-1 claims that the CNMI has the right to revoke the federally recognized "umbrella permits.  The federal government states that that CNMI does not have that authority and continues to recognize revoked permits as valid under federal law.

The USA vs Arizona lawsuit states:
Numerous other states are contemplating passing legislation similar to S.B. 1070. The development of various conflicting state immigration enforcement policies would result in further and significant damage to (1) U.S. foreign relations, (2) the United States’ ability to fairly and consistently enforce the federal immigration laws and provide immigration related humanitarian relief, and (3) the United States’ ability to exercise the discretion vested in the executive branch under the INA, and would result in the non-uniform treatment of aliens across the United States.
The causes of action in the Arizona lawsuit include Violation of Supremacy Clause, Preemption Under Federal Law and Violation of Commerce Clause.

The lawsuit requests the following relief:
1. A declaratory judgment stating that Sections 1-6 of S.B. 1070 are invalid, null, and void;
2. A preliminary and a permanent injunction against the State of Arizona, and its officers, agents, and employees, prohibiting the enforcement of Sections 1-6 of S.B. 1070;
3. That this Court award the United States its costs in this action; and
4. That this Court award any other relief it deems just and proper.


Anonymous said...

The Obama Administration is serious about comprehensive immigration reform. This is one more big step in the right direction. And yes, the CNMI law is also unconstitutional.

Anonymous said...

Arizona has an intentional policy of “attrition through enforcement.”

The unintentional policy of the CNMI seems to be “attrition through economic decline,” which may also be that of DHS USCIS & ICE.

Query 1: Was federalization of minumum wages and immigration the chicken or the egg with respect to this CNMI “policy”?

Query 2: With respect to this possible “policy” of DHS, is it easier to clone the Arizona lawsuit against the CNMI or to draft complicated new CW regulations? Which is more likely to happen first, or at all?

Anonymous said...

Wendy, I think you mean to say that CNMI laws are pre-empted by federal law, not that they preempt federal law.

Anonymous said...

This is a riduculous lawsuit. I agree that Arizona, with a Repub Governor, is pushing a political point, but it is also a popular and much needed reform.
Before you can talk about amnesty, citizenship, give everybody a new GM, you have to REALLY secure the borders. No matter what you do people will enter and/or overstay. Just as important is have penalities like other countries if you are caught hiring or working inside without a permit.
A country has the right and responsibility to secure it's borders. All discussions are possible once you have put this in place.
The Federal Government should have never brought this lawsuit. If they lose, they look bad. If they win, there will be a huge outrage all over the country. It is a lose, lose propostion for the Feds. Actually, if they win, which they won't, it could be worse poltically for the Dems

Wendy said...

Thanks 9:45 I really need to proofread!

Wendy said...

Anonymous 10:04

Of course the DOJ should have, and had to file this lawsuit. Are we going to allow different immigration laws in every state and territory? What a mess that would be. Yes, we need immigration reform and hopefully, this lawsuit will push Congress to stop the partisan politics and act now.

Anonymous said...

The CNMI laws and interpretations were based on the ongoing Arizona efforts.

This will be a bellweather for the CNMI. The residual twist of residual authority under the CNRA should be pre-empted by September if DHS does their regs properly.

Anonymous said...

Actually, if the Federal Goverment wins this lawsuit it could be bad of the CNMI workers.
I say this because if they win they can continue to do what they have been doing forever. That is, nothing. They have done nothing and they don't want to do anything.
It's funny that they want to challenge this law, but don't have any problem with "Sanctuary Cities"
that in some cases have passed local ordiances that actually PROHIBIT law enforcement officials from even calling ICE about illegal aliens.
These cities have superseeded Federal law. Why are they not being looked at?
Simple. The Feds don't want to do anything. If there was reform I feel sure that the CNMI situation would be addressed and addressed correctly in the workers favor. Encourging no action is bad for the CNMI workers.