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Public Statements

Rehberg Backs Arizona's Immigration Laws -- Signs Amicus Brief Against ACLU Lawsuit

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, has signed an amicus brief opposing a lawsuit filed by the ACLU to block the implementation of Arizona's new immigration law. The brief was written by the Washington Legal Foundation and defends both the practical necessity and Constitutionality of the Arizona law.

"Arizona is just enforcing the federal immigration laws that the federal government refuses to enforce itself," said Rehberg, the co-chair of the House Northern Border Caucus. "Ultimately, the federal government ought to be carrying this water so Arizona doesn't have to, but until that happens, you'd better believe I'm going to support Arizona's right to enforce their law."

In April, 2010 the state of Arizona passed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), which required immigrants to carry registration documents that were legally required by federal law. It also created strict policies that discourage the hiring and transportation of illegal immigrants. The measure is scheduled to go into effect on July 29, 2010.

In May, 2010, a preemptive Class Action Lawsuit was filed by the ACLU on behalf of fourteen organizations and ten individuals. The lawsuit challenges the Constitutionality of state action to address immigration policy.

The amicus brief that Rehberg signed makes four points in response to this lawsuit. First, it states the Arizona law is not preempting existing federal laws governing admission or removal of immigrants. It's merely assessing legal status using the federal laws already on the books. Second, it indicates that federal law explicitly establishes a role for the states in enforcement of immigration laws. Third, it points out the lawsuit requests that the law be preempted based on speculation about possible outcomes before the law is even implemented. Finally, it makes the case that because the ACLU objects to only some parts of the law, the lawsuit is overly broad in its attempt to repeal the entire law.

"Imagine if the federal government defaulted on its Social Security responsibility in Florida or its air traffic safety duties in New York," said Rehberg. "You can bet those states would be pretty upset. Well, for a border state like Arizona, illegal immigration is just as much a crisis, and the federal government has sat timidly on the fence. If the feds aren't going to do their job, the least it can do is let someone else do it for them."

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