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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Supreme Court Deals a Blow to Local and State Anti-Immigrant Lawmaking

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The Supreme Court ended the long fights in two separate cases where local governments attempted to impose anti-immigrant ordinances to drive away out of status immigrants. The high court denied certiorari in cases involving Hazleton, Pennsylvania and Farmers Branch, Texas. Hazleton's ordinance would have revoked business licenses for employers found to be employing out of status immigrants. And both Hazleton and Farmers Branch would have punished landlords found to be renting to out of status immigrants.

The court made its views fairly clear when in 2012 it threw out most of Arizona's anti-immigration law. That law and these two have something very interesting in common. They were all written by Kris Kobach, the anti-immigrant crusader who moonlights as the Secretary of State of Kansas. Hopefully, cities and states that decide to hire Mr. Kobach to draft his unconstitutional laws get an indemnification clause before he bankrupts their communities fighting these losing battles.

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  1. Jack2's Avatar
    "
    anti-immigrant ordinances to drive away out of status immigrants.
    Discourage violation of law? That is an obvious goal in every other legal area. But in immigration we are told this is outrageous and not just condoning but facilitating illegality is the way to go. It's a joke when anti-enforcements cite preemption while simultaneously applauding state or local laws which directly conflict with federal law or deliberately interfere with federal enforcement schemes.

    ACLU is supposedly about individual rights but there is no right to reside in the U.S. Thus, they must be against immigration law for some other reason(s). ACLU obviously wants to stamp out laws like those in Hazelton, Farmers Branch, etc. so that they will not catch on. There is also the financial bullying angle: Do not even try or we will bankrupt you. But even if Kobach threaded the needle and found something hard to attack and easy to copy, it would not be a magic bullet because even if it caught on in half the country, the other half would still be options for unlawful residence. And then you have the sanctuary states/counties/cities which make it even easier. While there are cities and counties in California which passed Hazelton/Farmers Branch type laws, California (as a state) is firmly in the pro-illegality camp and simply passed a state law to preempt those. Every recent California law passed which relates to unlawful presence is to make it easier. Obviously, to be effective, deterrent policies need to be national and require an administrative branch willing to enforce and implement them broadly. As opposed to an attitude of unlawful presence in and of itself being nothing to bother with and the radical doctrine that "being an undocumented immigrant is not a basis for deportation.?
  2. BallerPlaya's Avatar
    Jack2 - you are an dumba$$. You seem to attack everything immigrant. Grow up.

    Just because your dumba$$ ancestors came to this country first, that does not mean you deny others. BTW, they forced their way into this country and killed all the poor Indians. They are not just illegal but murderers too...
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    The only Republican immigration "reform" proposal which has actually made it out of a House committee in this Congress so far is the so-called "SAFE" Act (H.R. 2278), which would give state and local governments broad powers over immigration enforcement and effectively overrule the Supreme Court's 2012 Arizona v. US decision.

    Anti-immigrant groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies are strongly behind this bill, because it would bring back the racial profiling and other persecution measures against Latino and other non-white immigrants (and US citizens) which Arizona and Alabama had made notorious before the Arizona v. US decision.

    If the Republicans hold onto the House and take over the Senate in this fall's election, this is the only immigration "reform" that might actually reach the president's desk (for an almost certain veto).

    But even if this pernicious bill (which was reported out of the House Judiciary committee last June - the same committee whose Chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), is supposedly working on "piecemeal reform"), never becomes law, it is still the best guide available to the Republicans' real goals for immigration "reform" - more deportations, more sealing of the Mexican border, and more "internal enforcement - all designed to make life in the US intolerable for millions of brown immigrants though "attrition" so that they will ultimately have to "self-deport".

    If the SAFE Act were ever to become law, Kris Kobach, far from having to worry about indemnifying state and local governments for the failure of his anti-immigrant bills to pass Constitutional muster, would be able to charge them as much as he likes for his legislative drafting services.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 03-05-2014 at 06:56 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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