Two appellate court decisions guide states on immigration enforcement
Published on September 25th, 2008
—States may assist in enforcement, but not impede it —
SANTA BARBARA – Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) applauded two recent appellate court decisions that said states may help, but not hinder enforcement of laws against illegal immigration. Both rulings were unanimous.
“The message from these court decisions is quite clear," said Diana Hull, the organization’s President. “Immigration is primarily a federal responsibility, but states may assist in the enforcement of immigration law unless the federal government has expressly preempted that authority. On the other hand, states may not pass laws that impede or undermine federal enforcement.”
On Wednesday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court upheld an Arizona law that targets employers who hire illegal immigrants by revoking their licenses to do business in the state. The law also requires businesses to use an electronic verification system to check the work-authorization status of employees through federal records.
A California state appellate court ruled on Monday that the state is violating federal law by giving in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrant students at state colleges and universities. The three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal wrote that California’s AB 540, passed in 2001, "manifestly thwarts the will of Congress."
“Until the federal government fulfills its responsibility to secure our borders and prevent illegal aliens from displacing American workers, states have a role to play in helping thwart illegal immigration," continued Hull. “It is quite appalling that the California legislature passed a law to require economically-struggling, legal residents in California to subsidize the education costs of those whose presence here is illegal. It is equally appalling that some cities have declared themselves “sanctuaries” from enforcement of laws against illegal immigration.”
The Arizona case decided by the 9th Circuit is Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. v. Napolitano. [While several business and other groups sought to overturn the law, the American Unity Legal Defense Fund filed the only amicus brief siding with Arizona.]
The California case is Martinez v. Regents of the University of California. CAPS is a nonprofit organization that promotes policies designed to stabilize the population of California and the United States at a level that will protect resources and promote a good quality of life for all.