Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter announced today that the State of Idaho has joined Michigan in filing a "friend of the court" brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Arizona's law on illegal immigrants.
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, in consultation with the Governor, signed on to the amicus brief Thursday. It makes the case that states have the authority to concurrently enforce federal immigration law, provided that states do not create new categories of aliens or attempt to independently determine the immigration status of an alien.
The brief also contends that the Arizona law is consistent with the regulatory scheme established by Congress -- which is one of concurrent enforcement, where the federal government must respond to any inquiry by a state or local government agency seeking to verify the immigration status of any person within its jurisdiction.
"Arizona is simply requiring its law enforcement officials to help the federal government enforce immigration law as envisioned by Congress," Governor Otter said. "State officials have the right under existing federal law to identify illegal aliens and report them to federal authorities. It's our affirmative duty to protect states' rights, and that's particularly important when a lawsuit seeks to punish a state for doing what the federal government has failed to do -- protect our borders and American citizens."
Eleven states now have joined in the appeal from a federal judge's initial ruling against Arizona in the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.