Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Immigration Law Update

A case "involving a question of exceptional national importance: whether state legislatures and municipal governments may override Congress's judgment concerning United States immigration policy," as was described by the petitioning U.S. Department of Commerce, has been accepted to be heard by the Supreme Court.

Last week CNN.com reported that "The Supreme Court had seemed to have offered at least tenuous support for an Arizona law that would punish businesses hiring illegal aliens, it’s being the first High Court challenge to a variety of recent state laws cracking down on illegal immigrants, an issue that has become a political lightning rod nationwide, and which outcome’s could serve as a judicial warm-up for a separate high-profile challenge to a more controversial Arizona immigration reform law working its way through lower courts." [Petition for certiorari][ Brief in opposition]

At issue here, the article continued, was "Arizona's passing its Legal Arizona Workers Act in 2007, allowing the state to suspend the licenses of businesses that 'intentionally or knowingly' violate work-eligibility verification requirements," the article says. "Companies would be required under that law to use E-Verify, a federal database to check the documentation of current and prospective employees. That database had been created by Congress as a voluntary, discretionary resource… In its lawsuit, the Chamber of Commerce argues federal law prohibits Arizona and other states from making E-Verify use mandatory -- The state argues its broad licensing authority gives it the right to monitor businesses within its jurisdiction.

The 9th. Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2008, in affirming the District Court’s upholding of Arizona’s law, said the "case was a facial challenge to an Arizona state law, enacted in 2007 and aimed at illegal immigration, that reflects rising frustration with the United States Congress's failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform. The Arizona law, called the Legal Arizona Workers Act, targets employers who hire illegal aliens, and its principal sanction is the revocation of state licenses to do business in Arizona….. We uphold the statute in all respects against this facial challenge, but we must observe that it is brought against a blank factual background of enforcement and outside the context of any particular case. If and when the statute is enforced, and the factual background is developed, other challenges to the Act as applied in any particular instance or manner will not be controlled by our decision."

CNN predicts the case will serve "as a bellwether to how the Court will view the larger, more controversial state immigration law from Arizona last summer." In particular is the case brought by the Justice Department which up to this point resulted in an order from the District Court "granting in part and denying in part Defendant State of Arizona and Janice K. Brewer's Motion to Dismiss, and granting Plaintiff 30 days to file any amended complaint." The Justice Department appealed that to the 9th. Circuit which heard arguments on November 1. [ Order ]

1 comment:

Carol said...

Once again the Hamilton County Law Library posts an excellent and timely update on a topic of interest.