Friday, July 23, 2010

Congress, Latino Republicans join immigration debate

SB1070 is really hostile folks. I'm glad that members of Congress are standing up. However, also check out this story: Hispanic GOP group backs Ariz. law. Specifically, Jesse Hernandez, Chairman and Executive Director of the Arizona Latino Republican Association (ALRA) is advocating on behalf of immigrants who entered the country legally and argues that this is a state's rights battle over the federal government. He's bucking the overall trend, however, with 8 out of 10 Latinos disapproving of SB 1070 according to a recent LatinoMetrics poll.


It's becoming a big fight—as it should.

-Angela

Congress, Latino Republicans join immigration debate
Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 7:36 pm | Updated: 1:11 am, Fri Jul 23, 2010.
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services


Nearly one out of every seven members of Congress, including two from Arizona, want a federal judge hearing a challenge to the state's new immigration to know that they don't believe it is preempted by federal statutes.

In legal papers filed Wednesday in federal court, the 76 members of the House and five senators argue that the U.S. Department of Justice "fundamentally misapprehends the nature of its authority to enforce immigration law.''

Separately, a group known as the Arizona Latino Republicans Association asked for permission to actively intervene in the lawsuit to help Gov. Jan Brewer defend SB 1070.

Attorneys say the organization has an interest in the statute being allowed to take effect. They said while the organization's 230 members want to be treated equally with other U.S. citizens, they "do not believe in providing a safe haven to illegal immigrants.''

The brief filed by the federal lawmakers says Congress has exclusive power over immigration and that executive branch agencies can act only within those regulations. More to the point, the lawmakers say that federal agencies, absent explicit congressional authority, cannot choose to selectively enforce the laws.

That is a crucial point in the lawsuit to be heard today in U.S. District Court.

In its challenge to the Arizona law, the government admits that the Department of Homeland Security, which administers immigration laws and enforces border security, and the Department of Justice, which prosecutes offenders, "exercise discretion.''

For example, the lawsuit says, the agencies decide whether to bring criminal charges against someone who has violated immigration laws, whether to let an illegal immigrant remain without being incarcerated, and whether to grant "humanitarian or some other form of relief.''

"Decisions to forego removal or criminal penalties result not only from resource constraints, but also from affirmative policy considerations -- including humanitarian and foreign policy interests -- established by Congress and balanced by the executive branch,'' the lawsuit says. The Department of Justice says that Arizona's law, which includes requirements for police to check the immigration status of those they reasonably suspect are not in this country legally, conflict and interfere with those decisions.

The members of Congress, in their brief, disagree.

"The executive's powers to enforce federal immigration law does not confer the power to preempt state immigration enforcement by choosing, for foreign policy or other reasons, to selectively enforce the laws,'' they said.

That brief also says there is evidence Congress wants local police involved in enforcing federal immigration laws. That includes a statute that specifically bars cities enacting policies that bar police officers from sending information about illegal immigrants to federal authorities.

The federal lawmakers acknowledged that Congress passed a special law in 1996 allowing state and local police to receive special training, known as 287(g), to enforce federal immigration laws.

"But Congress reaffirmed that each state's inherent authority to enforce federal immigration laws was not restricted and that states could continue to assist in immigration enforcement,'' the members of Congress said.

The legal brief was signed by Trent Franks and John Shadegg, two of the 10 members of the state's congressional delegation.
It was filed for the members of Congress by two legal organizations: the Immigration Reform Law Institute which says it works to fight the damages caused by illegal immigrants, and the American Center for Law and Justice which bills itself as a public interest law firm working to protect the constitutional rights of religious groups.

More about Immigration

ARTICLE: Judge grills lawyers on Arizona immigration law
ARTICLE: 7 arrested in protests outside immigration hearing
ARTICLE: Goddard: Drug cartels key to stopping illegal immigration
ARTICLE: Republicans lose bid to block suit against Arizona law
More about Sb1070
ARTICLE: Judge grills lawyers on Arizona immigration law
ARTICLE: 7 arrested in protests outside immigration hearing
ARTICLE: Goddard: Drug cartels key to stopping illegal immigration
ARTICLE: Republicans lose bid to block suit against Arizona law
More about Lawsuit
ARTICLE: Republicans lose bid to block suit against Arizona law
ARTICLE: Officer wants Ariz. lawsuit merged with feds' case
ARTICLE: Education groups sue state over voter-approved funding for schools
ARTICLE: Lawsuit aims for state to return funds to transportation programs
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