City of Brass

City of Brass


Federal government sues State over immigration

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yes, it happened at last. The Justice Department is filing suit against a State in the union, because that state (which did not vote for the sitting President) passed an immigration law that directly undermines the authority of the federal government as enshrined in the US Constitution.

President Obama versus the State of Arizona? Nope. President Bush versus the State of Illinois!


The Bush administration took the gloves off Monday in its fight over immigration enforcement, suing the state of Illinois for banning use of a federal system that checks whether workers are in the United States legally.

The United States of America vs. the State of Illinois is the latest court battle the administration is waging with immigrant advocates and business groups over its crackdown on workers here illegally and the companies that hire them.

Brought by the Justice Department on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security, the civil suit is intended to preempt an Illinois state law that bars businesses from using the employee verification program until its databases are faster and more accurate. The suit is also intended to send a clear message to other states and cities about the way they handle immigration enforcement.

The Illinois law “is a direct assault on the federal law,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Monday in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “This is about as bold an anti-enforcement measure as I’ve ever seen.”

In both cases, then and now, the federal government is right to act against an errant state. Whether that state is red or blue, whether it passes restrictions on immigration or loosens them, a state may not dictate immigration policy. Ilegal immigrants immigrate to the United States as a nation, not a specific state, and the states cannot be permitted to enact a patchwork of law. This is a Homeland Security issue as well as a constitutional one and President Obama, and President Bush, are and were right.

Arizona and Illinois may be frustrated, but it is not their call. States’ rights advocates who invoke the Constitution must either accept this or be revealed as stunning hypocrites.



  • http://phelps.donotremove.net Phelps

    There’s a problem with your analogy. The Illinois law purported to circumvent the law passed by Congress, which was being enforced by the Executive. In Arizona, the law is 100% in line with the laws passed by Congress, but is being challenged because it conflicts with the policies of the Executive.
    Going by the law, I think Obama’s going to lose this one. Unless Congress challenges is, he’s stuck. Arizona’s moves in no way interfere with the enforcement of the laws that Congress passed. Separation of powers is a mutha.

  • Randy

    It is obvious that the writer of the article doesn’t know their facts and has a bias to one side. Also, states don’t vote for Presidents, people do.

  • Abambagibus

    Mr. Phelps, may your tape never self-destruct. On the matter of this thread, your particular perspective is closer to the universal than are most.

  • http://timesthattryoursouls.blogspot.com Laurence

    This is a fairly cogent post, however, I believe that you are incorrect in your assertion that AZ is in violation of Federal Law, or the Constituution. AZ bill 1070 (due to offically come into law soon) mirrors the federal immigration law which the federal government has chosen to enforce selectively and inconsistantly. Actaully, AZ is being sued for following federal immigration regulations to the letter of the law. You are amoung the very few who I have been able to find who think this suit is anything more than a ploy to harrass the state of Arizona and has little chance of winning (other than judicial activism, of course).

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment David Hansen

    The author of the above commentary really slipped off the rails. The Arizona law (1070) does not attempt to replace Federal jurisdiction at all. The Federal Govt. is not enforcing imigration so it has to be done by someone

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