Arizona is ground zero for the illegal immigration tidal wave, with nearly half of all illegal border crossings in that state alone. This includes gang members in Mexican drug cartels and criminals fleeing their home countries south of the border. To counter the physical safety concerns and the costs arising from this illegal immigration, Arizona enacted the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (S.B. 70) on April 29, 2010. That legislation seeks to use state law enforcement resources to promote more effective enforcement of federal immigration laws in Arizona. The legislation does that through cooperative law enforcement with federal agencies and sanctions expressly designed to parallel federal law.
Nevertheless, for possibly political reasons, the Obama Administration sued the state of Arizona to enjoin the duly enacted state law on its face before it even took effect. The suit alleged the law violated the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution because its provisions were preempted by the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”).
The Federal District Court granted a preliminary injunction against the key provisions of the Arizona law, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. On August 10, 2011, Arizona filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court asking it to review these decisions. On September 9, 2011, the American Civil Rights Union filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court in support of Arizona, asking the Court to grant the petition and review the case. The ACRU argued that this was an important case presenting fundamental questions of federalism under the Constitution, and that the Ninth Circuit ruling was wrongly decided.
READ THE AMICUS BRIEF HERE. (PDF)