Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

US Immigration Attorney Chris Ingram talks about the Arizonas S.B.1070

Ever since Arizona Governor Janice K .Brewer signed into Arizona state law S.B. 1070 on April 23, 2010 the Country has been wondering what the effects might by when it came into effect at midnight Thursday July 29th 2010. Although, in some ways was well intentioned; as an effort to quell rising criminal elements along the border between Arizona and Mexico for many legal aliens the law would cast too great a shadow over a much broader legal immigrant community inadvertently. So the scene was set for fierce argument and confrontation in the streets and in the Courts as to whether the S.B. 1070 was Constitutional.

 As an aside, one of the things I love most as an immigrant to the US is how the US Constitution works. Neither the states nor the federal government can make laws that violate the constitution of the United States. The US Constitution is really a defender of the people and this Arizona law and how it was handled on the issue of its constitutionality was quite awesome to see.

Immigration law is a federal issue, meaning that there is one immigration law that controls immigration nationwide. An alien legal in one state is legal is all states and all aliens should be treated with equanimity. In legal parlance, the area of immigration law is exclusive province of the federal government, this area is said to be preempted. If states were able to create their own immigration laws then we’d in effect have 50 countries not 50 states.

It is true to say that Border States have such as California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, may have a higher rate of Hispanic immigration, but it’s also true to say that many states are known for their high German immigrant population, Dutch immigrant population and let’s not forget the huge Irish immigrant population in Boston Massachusetts.  All over America there are distinct epicenters of immigrant populations and without doubt each of these epicenters have an undocumented population eager for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. However, every time I watch any news on any channel about immigration there always a picture in picture shot of Mexicans jumping over border wall. The news never features stories about the Germans, Dutch, Irish and other nationalities as if they do not exist. You may wonder what this has to do with S.B.1070 and Arizona’s law; well it’s about the US Constitution being there to protect the rights of everyone whether they are in the news or not and it certainly prevents states from singling out a particular race for “anti-immigration” practices.

Amongst other things the key and most controversial elements of S.B.1070 were issues: –

 –   SB 1070 A.R.S. § 11-1051(B) Requiring that an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, and requiring verification of the immigration status of any person arrested prior to releasing that person.

 –   SB1070 A.R.S. § 13-1509 Creating a crime for failure to apply for or carry alien registration papers.

–   SB1070 A.R.S. § 13-2928 (C) Creating a crime for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply for, or perform work

–  SB1070 A.R.S. § 13-3883(A)(5) Authorizing the warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe the person has committed a public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.

The above referenced articles were the most controversial elements of the Bill and as can be read these provisions if allowed to stand would make criminals out of every undocumented alien in Arizona even criminals out of children who were brought into the US by their parents at a very young age and who now have been completely Americanized.  

The Federal Government upon reading SB 1070 considered the matter very carefully and on July 6th 2010 the United States filed a Complaint challenging the constitutionality of SB 1070. July 28th 2010 Susan R. Bolton United District Judge struck these provisions from SB 1070 ruling them unconstitutional on the grounds that these provisions in particular entered unlawfully into to the territory of law that is exclusive to federal control.

Arizona Governor Janice K .Brewer and her legal team have vowed to challenge this decision and other states are looking to create similar immigration laws themselves and have them challenged in the various state courts.

Clearly there is an appetite amongst many states for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and if the Federal Government will not act they are prepared to act independently whether it’s constitutional or not. My view is that even if there were Comprehensive Immigration Reform, for some states like Arizona it would not go far enough if it fell short of allowing mass deportation.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform is not just about legalizing 12 million or more undocumented aliens. Comprehensive Immigration if we get it is about addressing the plethora of immigration issues facing multinational companies desperate for overseas talent to help them trade internationally successfully. An American company wishing to trade in Germany had better have some German staff on board to help it with its product development and marketing otherwise they might lose market share rather than gain market share. An American fashion company looking to trade in Europe had better make sure it had a good mix of European designers on board otherwise they’ll not succeed. All of these alien workers need visas and the current immigration requirements and quota systems can completely, at peak demands for alien labor, stifle in fact stop these companies in their tracks if the quota for the year has been exhausted.

Also, there are many aliens looking to invest in the US to buy a small business which in turn create jobs for Americans. The E2 visa applicants have no direct way towards getting a green card. Many would be investors are deterred from making these investments unless, under Comprehensive Immigration Reform some relief is given to these investors  by allowing them to upgrade to green card status after five years.

Its issues like these that are not making the headlines but are nonetheless absolute requirements of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

The one bright light about Arizona’s SB 1070 Bill is that is has ignited a healthy debate on a national level about the need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Join the debate.