Immigration Law & The Federal Government

On Monday, May 9, 2011 the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals refused to lift a stay blocking major parts of Arizona’s immigration law from taking effect and said the federal government is likely to be able to prove the controversial law is unconstitutional. Essentially, the Court denied an appeal filed by Governor Jan Brewer requesting the Court lift an injunction imposed by a federal judge in Phoenix, AZ the day before the law was to take effect on July 29, 2010. The U.S Justice Department sued to block the law, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution as enforcement of immigration law is a federal issue.

Monday’s ruling by the three-judge appeals court panel upheld that injunction saying the government is likely to succeed in its arguments that Congress has given the federal government sole authority to enforce immigration laws, and that Arizona’s law violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

Brewer’s lawyers argued that the federal government has not effectively enforced immigration laws and regulations and that the state law will, in effect, assist federal authorities in enforcing the same.

The passage of SB 1070 last year reignited an immigration debate that has stirred a broad range of emotions in Arizona and across the United States.

This case is captioned United States of America v. State of Arizona, 10-16645.