U.S. Department of Justice Sues Arizona over SB 1070 on Preemptive Grounds

Dallas-based immigration lawyer Stewart Rabinowitz provides timely insights about the controversial suit.

Citing conflict with Federal Law, the Department of Justice has challenged Arizona immigration law Senate Bill 1070. In a brief filed in the District of Arizona, the Department said S.B. 1070 unconstitutionally interferes with the federal government’s authority to set and enforce immigration policy, explaining that “The Constitution and federal law do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.”

“Having contradictory state and local policies would disrupt federal immigration enforcement, which isn’t necessarily a good idea,” asserts Dallas-based immigration lawyer Stewart Rabinowitz, “It can be argued that the state of Arizona has crossed a constitutional line.”

The Department’s brief said that S.B. 1070 will place significant burdens on federal agencies, diverting their resources away from high-priority targets, such as aliens implicated in terrorism, drug smuggling, gang activity, and those with criminal records. The law’s mandates on Arizona law enforcement will also result in the harassment and detention of foreign visitors and legal immigrants, as well as U.S. citizens, who cannot readily prove their lawful status.

Rabinowitz amplifies the latter point. “Although the Arizona proponents of S.B. 1070 always insist that racial profiling is expressly prohibited in the language of the bill, in practice, just the opposite effect is likely to occur – considering the socio-political milieu which exists in Arizona,” he said.

In declarations filed with the brief, Arizona law enforcement officials, including the Chiefs of Police of Phoenix and Tucson, said that S.B. 1070 will hamper their ability to effectively police their communities. The chiefs said that victims of or witnesses to crimes would be less likely to contact or cooperate with law enforcement officials and that implementation of the law would require them to reassign officers from critical areas such as violent crimes, property crimes, and home invasions.

“It’s likely that enforcement of S.B. 1070 would lead to near-zero enforcement in many areas – creating a kind of chaos,” Rabinowitz concludes.

The Department filed the suit after extensive consultation with Arizona officials, law enforcement officers and groups, and civil rights advocates. The suit was filed on behalf of the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State, which share responsibilities in administering federal immigration law.

To learn more about Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C., call 1.972.233.6200 or visit http://www.rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.