David Shepherd: News Blog

Journalist's Notebook

The White House Plans Legal Challenge to AZ Immigration Law

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com]  –  Friday, June 18, 2010

A senior administration official says The White House plans to file a legal challenge to Arizona’s immigration law.  That action, according to the same source, could come within a month.

 CNN first reported the administration’s decision yet the Justice Department has declined to confirm, telling CNN, “The Justice Department is continuing to review the law.”

Federal lawyers have been working on a legal challenge for several weeks now and sources close to the administration say arguments will likely be filed in Phoenix before July 28; that’s when the new law is scheduled to take effect.

For months, President Obama has made it clear he is not in favor of the law which would allow law enforcement officers to stop and question any individual about their status in The United States as long as there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally. 

There have also been questions as to what constitutes “reasonable suspicion.”  That question, along with the constitutionality of the law itself has been the target of many opponents’ criticism of the law.

 Several other states may see similar legal challenges as many are considering similar laws to get the immigration problem under control there.

Arizona’s legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer, have been accused of over-stepping their bounds as some call immigration reform   federal jurisdiction.

The Debate Fires Up In Indiana

In Indiana, state senator Mike Delph (R-Carmel) wants to pass an, “Arizona-like” law giving law enforcement across the state the authority to stop and question any individual about their status in the United States as long as the officer has “reasonable suspicion” they are here illegally.

Arizona Senate Bill 1070 Sec. 2. Title 11, chapter 7 (Section B):

“FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR A LAW

ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR A LAW

ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF

THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO

IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE

MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON,

EXCEPT IF THE DETERMINATION MAY HINDER OR OBSTRUCT AN INVESTIGATION.”

CLICK HERE to read the entire bill.

During a recent interview on WTWO (NBC 2 – Terre Haute), state representative Clyde Kersey said, “I think the law is unconstitutional and the reason I believe that is because immigration is a federal responsility.”

Delph says he agrees with democratic critics who say immigration policy is federal jurisdiction.  But Delph remains doubtful that a democratic president and congress will pass a federal policy strong enough to get the problem of immigration under control.

During a recent interview on WTWO, Delph told me he, and many republicans, are frustrated with Washington and ready to take matters in to their own hands.

Delph’s interest in illegal immigration reform is not new.  For the past three years, Delph has proposed legislation in the State House that addresses illegal immigration.  It has been defeated every time.  This upcoming legislative session could be the fourth consecutive year Delph tries to tackle Indiana’s immigration problem. 

He says if congress or Pres. Obama don’t act, he will.

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June 19, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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