As part of his commitment to fighting the escalating problem of illegal immigration, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) has signed an amicus brief - a legal opinion from an individual or a group with relevant information to provide to the court-- in support of an Arizona law giving the state the authority to protect citizens from crime and lawlessness linked to the national government's failed immigration policies.
The brief, filed with the U.S. Supreme Court and signed by Luetkemeyer and more than 50 members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, argues that although states may not pass laws setting immigration policy, they may pass harmonious laws that further Congress' purposes. The brief explains that state laws should not be preempted as long as they are not expressly precluded by federal law; do not create state-level standards regarding which immigrants may enter or conditions upon which lawfully present immigrants may remain in the United States; and do not pose any obstacle to the accomplishment of Congress' goals.
The Arizona law requires state and local law enforcement officials to facilitate the detection of unauthorized immigrants in their daily law enforcement duties, as well as establish criminal penalties under state law for immigration smuggling and failure to carry or complete immigration registration documents. The Obama administration challenged the law by arguing that regulating immigration is the job of the federal government, not states.
"The federal government should not stand in the way of states seeking to enforce their own laws in order to uphold federal law and protect their own citizens. Our very system of government was founded upon a shared power between the federal government and the states," Luetkemeyer said. "The U.S. Constitution specifically gives broad authority to individual states and they must be able to address this problem that the federal government has neglected. It is hard to believe that our Founding Fathers intended to deprive the federal government of an effective aid from local officers experienced in the kind of enforcement necessary to combat this national issue."
Luetkemeyer said that the case will have sweeping ramifications for Arizona and other states struggling with illegal immigration issues that the federal government either cannot or will not handle. Although most tax revenues generated by illegal immigrants flow to the federal government, almost all the costs, including those borne by locally funded social services and those caused by illegal immigrant crime, accrue to the states. Of the net national illegal immigration cost of almost $100 billion, the federal government bears approximately $19 billion while state and local governments bear the remaining $80 billion spent in services and benefits provided to illegal immigrants.