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SALT Urges Federal Intervention in Arizona’s Anti-Immigration Legislation

On May 5, 2010, Cinco de Mayo, SALT sent a letter to President Obama urging him to use his executive authority to stop enforcement of Arizona’s insidious SB 1070, which creates new state crimes stemming from illegal immigration and threatens the civil rights and liberties of thousands of Latino residents in the state.

“Arizona’s law fits within thousands of anti-immigrant laws and practices that proliferated, particularly post-9/11, outside the scope of federal cooperation.  Many of these laws have sought to deputize local police to enforce not only federal, but also newly created state civil or criminal violations of immigration laws.  States are claiming an inherent power to enact and enforce such laws, but this power runs afoul of federal law and constitutional preemption doctrine.  More troubling is that displaced blame is creating an environment of enmity directed not only at immigrants, but towards their U.S. citizen families and friends.  Calls for boycotts provide some hope for a more balanced approach to solving tensions arising from unauthorized immigration.  However, without federal intervention, Arizona will implement SB 1070 and other states will likely follow Arizona’s lead.  Without federal intervention, the thousands of constitutionally suspect anti-immigration measures that preceded SB 1070 will remain largely intact.”
SALT requested that President Obama take specific actions to stop enforcement of the Arizona law and press for comprehensive immigration reform:

1. Establish the constitutional principle that states cannot claim inherent powers to enforce federal immigration laws absent express congressional delegation.

2. Affirm that comprehensive immigration reform is a fundamental human rights issue that calls for moving expeditiously and in a bi-partisan way toward its adoption.

3. Order the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to cease all local collaboration with the state of Arizona and its localities.

4. Order the Department of Justice to pursue independent litigation and to join litigation filed against this law by civil rights groups challenging the constitutionality of SB 1070 and seeking an immediate injunction.

5. Order the Department of Justice to conduct aggressive and full investigations into the ongoing civil rights violations committed in the State of Arizona, especially by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, as a result of local immigration enforcement and consider civil rights litigation to stop those practices. 
Read the entire May 5, 2010 letter to President Obama.
Since 1974, the Society of American Law Teachers (“SALT”) has been an independent organization of law teachers, deans, law librarians, and legal education professionals working to make the profession more inclusive, to enhance the quality of legal education, and to extend the power of legal representation to under-represented individuals and communities.

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