Category Archives: AZ immigration law

The DOJ’s suit against AZ: A BLT perspective

The DOJ’s 25-page complaint can be read here (PDF). From the BLT (Blog of the Legal Times) comes this explanation of the suit:

The lawsuit makes sweeping claims about the federal government’s power to develop immigration policy. It cites the federal government’s power under the Constitution to establish a “uniform Rule of Naturalization” — translating, it says, to the regulation of aliens within U.S. boundaries and to the terms and conditions for entry and continued presence.

With the State Department joining as a plaintiff, the lawsuit also cites the president’s authority over foreign affairs. “Immigration law, policy, and enforcement priorities are affected by and have impacts on U.S. foreign policy, and are themselves the subject of diplomatic arrangements,” it says.

Together with the complaint, the department is filing a 58-page motion (PDF) for a preliminary injunction. The law is scheduled to go into effect July 29.

*snip*

The DOJ lawsuit does not seek to invalidate the entire Arizona immigration law, known as S.B. 1070. It targets sections 1 through 6 of the law (PDF), leaving alone sections about employment and the impounding of vehicles. By contrast, the complaint (PDF) filed by in May by the ACLU and others asks to have the law struck down in its entirety.

The BLT is a great resource for breaking down legal mumbo-jumbo for non-legal minded folks. I get their daily breaking newsletter.

So, Holder and Company, unlike the coalition of rights groups (ACLU,the NAACP, and the National Immigration Law Center) are not seeking to kill the entire bill….interesting. As for who is representing whom…here is the list, also from the BLT article:

To defend the state, Brewer has hired John Bouma, chairman of Snell & Wilmer in Phoeniz, because Arizona’s attorney general, Terry Goddard III (D), has removed himself.

Five DOJ lawyers have their names on the complaint: Assistant Attorney General Tony West, who heads the Civil Division; U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke; Arthur Goldberg, an assistant director in the Federal Programs Branch; and trial attorneys Varu Chilakamarri and Joshua Wilkenfeld.

Bouma is a big gun, according to his bio at Snell & Wilmer. He is also a conservationist I noticed. AZ’s Attorney General Goddard, didn’t have a whole lot of nice things to say about Governor Brewer in the AZ Central article linked above. Gov Brewer threatened to shit-can AG Goddard over this entire fiasco. Quite telling I think, don’t you?

AZ nutters claims of immigration crime spree is pure bs.

Serving up some irony this Monday morning, the state of AZ’s Dept of Public Safety has released a report(pdf), along with the FBI’s recently released report (pdf) on the level and types of crime being perpetrated by illegals and/or Mexican Nationals. It shows that all the bs being tossed out by the rightwing nutters is pure unadulterated fuckery. From AmericanProgess.org:

The facts on crime in Arizona

  •  Violent crimes in Arizona are down by 15 percent since 2006: The FBI’s preliminary Uniform Crime Report, or UCR, for 2009 shows that violent crime—murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault—is down in Arizona for the third year in a row. The absolute number of violent crimes in 2006 was 30,916 in Arizona. By 2009 it had dropped by 15 percent to 26,094.
  • Per-capita violent crime rate dropped by 22 percent: Factoring in the change in Arizona’s population, the rate of violent crime per 100,000 persons in 2009 was 390.5, which is a 22 percent decrease from 501.4 per 100,000 in 2006. For comparison’s sake, the violent crime rate in nonborder states such as Georgia and Tennessee was 410.6 and 604.9 respectively in 2009.
  • Arizona’s violent and property crime rate drop was twice the national average: Nationally, violent and property crimes were down between 2008 and 2009, but Arizona saw rates of decline more than double that. The nation as a whole saw a -5.5 percent change in violent crime and -4.9 percent change in property crime from 2008 to 2009, but Arizona experienced a percent change of -11.1 in the former and -12 in the latter in this same time period.
  • Kidnappings are tied to Mexico’s organized crime syndicate, not innocent Americans: It’s clear that Arizona has an organized crime problem, with 267 kidnappings in 2009 in Phoenix alone. But the kidnappings most often occur when human smugglers—who are usually part of Mexican drug cartels—demand more money for their services. As Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said, “We’re talking about the kidnapping of smugglers and associates. I have no fear that my kids or grandkids will be victims.” This means that our efforts must be directed toward two fronts: fixing our broken immigration system so that people can immigrate legally with visas and not illegally with smugglers, and helping to resolve the deadly war on drugs in Mexico.

 The article is quite illuminating and also includes a section on just the border regions…which are some of the lowest crime areas in the United States.  

Another bit of irony for you: The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police opposes S.B. 1070.

Federal Judge throws out AZ immigration law challenge..

This is a good thing..its important for several reasons. First, Arizona is attempting to do what many of us have been bitching about for years now..Make the Companies and Businesses responsible when it comes to hiring undocumented workers. It puts on the onus on them, where it belongs. We need to treat them like the damn DEA treats most drug dealers; take everything they own and auction it off, leaving them penniless and in jail. Under the law, any business that is found to have knowingly hired an illegal worker is subject to sanctions ranging from probation to a 10-day suspension of its business licenses. A second violation would bring permanent revocation of the license.

Second, the lawsuit shows us that businesses and corporations don’t want to change the status quo. The corporatocracy talks a good game about illegals being a blight on the American job market, but the reality is, they like hiring them and keeping the wages low and pocketing more of their bottom line, not to mention treating the undocumented workers like chattel.

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that illegal immigrants account for one in 10 workers in the Arizona economy. The following is Jurists writeup on this case a good place to go for all things legal:

A federal judge Friday dismissed a lawsuit challenging a new Arizona law aimed at preventing employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. The Legal Arizona Workers Act, enacted in July, gives the Superior Courts of Arizona power to suspend or revoke the business licenses of businesses that intentionally or knowingly employ illegal immigrants. Under the law, employers will be required to check the legal status of new hires using E-Verify, a free online federal program that checks names and identification documents to determine employment eligibility. The plaintiffs, a coalition of advocacy groups and business interests, had hoped to block the legislation before it takes effect on Jan. 1, 2008. US District Court Judge Neil V. Wake wrote that the lawsuit was premature because the law had not gone into effect and no one had been harmed, and also that the plaintiffs were wrong in suing the governor and the attorney general, because under the law, only county prosecutors, who were not defendants, have the power to enforce the law.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano has called the law “the most aggressive action in the country against employers who knowingly or intentionally hire undocumented workers.” Napolitano urged similar national legislation in a July letter to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in which she also urged Congress to review the Basic Pilot Program, the federal database used to verify the status of new employees.

I am Hispanic, and I know that I have relatives in my family tree that came into this country without visas. I also believe that any immigrant that slogs through the fucking desert, finds a job and makes a good, decent life for themselves should be granted citizenship. But I am not so delusional that I don’t realize how undocumented workers that flood specific types of job markets hold down the pay scale in those markets. I have seen it first hand for my son who works in new housing construction. He has been told to his face by superiors that they would rather hire two illegals for 10 bucks and hour than hire my son for 20 an hour. I believe that if we hold companies feet to the fire and make them accountable for hiring undocumented workers that the amount of illegals coming northward into America will slow down if not drop to a trickle.

I see first hand how hard they work to make a decent life for them and their families. I see how they pay payroll taxes they never get to file for and recover.. They buy houses and pay their property taxes. They have good family values and are usually very close knit families. I have seen undocumented workers slaving in fields where the temperatures rise to 105-110 degrees every day in the summer, and they do it for a paycheck that wouldn’t even impress the guy working the counter at McDonald’s my dear reader.

So, do not lump me in with the racists and bigots that are screaming about Homeland Security or any of the other bogus bullshit lines of reasoning they use to make Hispanics the ‘new’ Blacks as it were.

Crossposted at Sirens Chronicles