Will Arizona’s Immigration Law Survive?


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Apr 20, 2009
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Reno, NV
Will Arizona’s Immigration Law Survive?
Dario Lopez-Mills/Associated Press On the Arizona-Mexico border.

Arizona’s tough new immigration enforcement law, which was signed on Friday, will face many legal challenges before it goes into effect this summer. Some opponents of the law, the toughest in the nation, predict that it will suffer the same fate as California’s Proposition 187, which was passed in 1994 but never carried out because of legal setbacks and political opposition.
But California’s initiative was aimed at limiting illegal immigrants’ access to social services, while Arizona’s measure focuses on law enforcement: identifying, prosecuting and deporting undocumented immigrants.
What are the possible legal objections to Arizona’s measure, and are they valid or not? What effect will this prospective law have on the rest of the country and on national politics?
Steven A. Camarota, Center for Immigration Studies
Hiroshi Motomura, U.C.L.A. law professor
Dan Schnur, former adviser to John McCain
Tamar Jacoby, ImmigrationWorks USA
Vivek Malhotra, A.C.L.U.

Doing What It Can

Steven A. Camarota is the director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonprofit research organization.
Arizona clearly has a huge illegal immigration problem. It’s the top state for illegal border crossings. My research shows that illegal immigrants account for one-third of the state’s uninsured. Moreover, the state spends nearly $2 billion a year educating children from illegal families. Arizona also has one of the lowest rates of labor force participation among youths, who compete with illegal immigrants for jobs.
In pursuing a legitimate goal, Arizonans must also ensure civil rights are protected.
The state’s new immigration enforcement law is designed to mirror federal immigration laws. Federal law already requires aliens to register and carry their documents with them. The new Arizona law simply does the same thing. Because illegal immigrants are by definition in violation of federal immigration laws, they can now be arrested.
The law is specifically designed to avoid the legal pitfall of “pre-emption,” which means a state can’t enact laws that conflict with federal statutes. By simply making what is a federal violation also a state violation, the Arizona law avoids this problem. Of course, the courts will ultimately decide the issue.
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Platinum Member
Oct 14, 2007
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I have mixed feelings about this law. I don't see the huge injustice that folks are talking about. Something needs to be done.

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