U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) today issued a statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on an Arizona law giving the state authority to protect citizens from crime and lawlessness linked to the national government's failed immigration policies. Earlier this year, Luetkemeyer and more than 50 members of Congress signed onto a brief filed with the Supreme Court in support of the Arizona law.
"I am disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision striking down key elements of Arizona's immigration law, but it is my hope as we move forward that the federal government and specifically the Obama Administration will begin to enforce the immigration laws currently on the books instead of leaving it up to states like Arizona to solve these very serious issues. This ruling also may provide the kind of guidance the states need to protect their citizens in the future. We must not forget that 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."
In a 5-3 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the provision of the Arizona law allowing law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of any person they stop, detain or arrest. But the court struck down the three other provisions at issue which would have allowed law enforcement officers to arrest, without a warrant, undocumented immigrants suspected of committing crimes that would lead to their deportation and would have made it a state crime for undocumented immigrants not to have alien registration documents and to work or apply for work.
The brief filed by Luetkemeyer and his colleagues specifically argued that although states may not pass laws setting immigration policy, they may pass harmonious laws that further Congress' purposes. The brief explained 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.