Arizona created major ripples in the immigration landscape by signing into law Arizona Senate Bill 1070. This broad legislation includes criminalizing the failure of an unauthorized immigrant to carry an immigration registration document or obtain work without authorization from the federal government.
The law was about to go into effect by July 29, 2010 but the US Government filed an enjoinment suit to which the State of Arizona issued a preliminary injunction on four of the most controversial provision of the law. These are Section 3, which requires registration, and Sec 5(c) that penalizes unauthorized work.
The injunction was questioned in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals but was upheld by the three judges saying that these provisions overstepped the state power as against federal power. Now the case has been elevated to the US Supreme Court, where previous decisions have shot down this kind of immigration federalist tendencies. The Court has often upheld the federal supremacy over state law regarding immigration policy.
Arizona is arguing that the law does not preempt nor overstep sacrosanct concepts of federal power over state rule. The law only is designed to help federal government in managing immigration enforcement, because of the lack of Congressional action on the matter.
According to the principal author, Arizona State Sen. Kris Kobach, the local law enforcement officers would be a “force multiplier” for the federal government’s immigration activities. Even without the law, federal government has sought assistance from state officers in the enforcement of immigration laws.
What the law does though is go beyond the current practice and legal parameters regarding immigration law enforcement. With the above stated federal and state cooperation, state officials work under the supervision and direction of federal officers. Furthermore, the Arizona law undermines the federal power over immigration, by impeding federal enforcement objectives because of the registration as well as criminalization provisions.
It is projected that the High Court would recognize that federal and state cooperation regarding immigration enforcement but this should be under the direction and supervision of federal officials pursuing federal objectives and policies.