House Democrats and Attorneys General File Challenge to Arizona Immigration Law

Eleven attorneys general and 68 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives joined in opposing Arizona’s controversial immigration law on Tuesday, as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in the case.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed an amicus brief supporting the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Arizona, saying the southwestern state’s immigration law conflicts with federal policy by enlisting state authorities to police immigration offenses and by undermining the deportation priorities set by the Executive branch.

The attorneys general from 10 other states, including California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, signed on to the amicus brief.

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The filing also says Arizona’s disproportionate crackdown on illegal immigration will affect other states.

“Because Arizona cannot compel the federal government to remove undocumented residents, SB 1070’s provisions have the primary effect of redirecting undocumented immigrants to other States,” the brief says.

Sixty-seven Democratic members of Congress, led by Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, simultaneously announced their opposition to Arizona’s SB 2010, filing a similar amicus brief.

“We wouldn’t permit Arizona to have its own foreign policy and we can’t allow Arizona to have its own immigration laws,” Rep. Zoe Lofregren, who sits on the House Subcommittee on Immigration, said in a press conference posted to YouTube.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton put an injunction on several parts of the Arizona law in July 2010 – including the provision requiring police to check the immigration status of the people they stop – arguing that the law usurped federal immigration enforcement authority. Bolton’s decision was upheld by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed SB 1070 into law, hopes the Supreme Court will overturn the lower court’s ruling. Brewer, a Republican, and other supporters of SB 1070 argue that federal inaction leaves Arizona with no choice but to take immigration enforcement into its own hands.

The Supreme Court will hear Arizona v. The United States on April 25.

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