Obama’s Lawyers: Constitution Trumps Arizona Immigration Law

With anti-immigrant sentiment running high in Nevada, undocumented immigrants in the Las Vegas area are breathing easier after a move by the federal government this week. The Obama Administration presented a strong stance this past Tuesday when it challenged the controversial Arizona law, passed in April, that allows police to question the immigration status of people they suspect of being illegal immigrants. Public approval of the law is running high, and politicians in Reno, Las Vegas, and throughout Nevada have expressed support for a similar law in the Silver State.

Only the federal government can set or enforce immigration policy, the Department of Justice said in its lawsuit against the state. “Arizona has crossed this constitutional line.”  The DOJ’s statement and the federal complaint against Arizona shed light on the Obama Administration’s increasingly forceful stance on immigration law and policy. President Obama has recently expressed profound interest in pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, which may help immigrants and their family’s who are forced to live in the shadows in in communities like Reno and Las Vegas, as well as in rural areas like Winnemucca, Round Mountain, and Elko.

The DOJ, which represents the federal government in court matters, points out several rationales against the Arizona law in its complaint. The DOJ alleges that the Arizona law will divert resources from the federal government’s pursuit of dangerous aliens, including terrorists, spies and violent criminals. It will also lead to harassment of legal resident aliens, visitors, and citizens who might not be carrying their papers when stopped by police. It also undermines the United States’ hard-won protections of civil rights for racial minorities.

The Constitutional doctrine of federal supremacy is abundant in case law for issues such as immigration because the federal government is the only body that can adequately implement policy in this area. Otherwise, as the Obama administration has continually echoed, a “patchwork” of state and local immigration policies could wreak even more havoc on our nation. Only the federal government can develop a uniform, effective immigration policy that all states must follow.

It is an open question whether or not the Obama Administration can successfully push through an immigration reform bill before the end of 2010. However, due to ever-increasing violence at the US-Mexico border and laws similar to Arizona’s under consideration throughout the country, the time has come for immigration reform. Otherwise, immigrants and their families in Nevada will continue to live in fear and oppression while the federal government sits idle and allows states to take matters into their own hands.

For the latest news on immigration reform, continue to visit our Las Vegas immigration Web site. For a free consultation with our experienced Nevada immigration lawyer, please contact us today.

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