Federal Lawsuit against Arizona Immigration Law
WASHINGTON – Congressman Jerry Lewis Tuesday joined 76 members of the House of Representatives and five Senators in filing a court brief opposing the federal lawsuit attempting to overturn Arizona’s law designed to limit illegal immigration.
The “amicus brief” filed by the members declares that Congress, not the administration, maintains the “plenary authority” to prescribe immigration laws. Because Congress has passed numerous laws encouraging support from local officials to enforce immigration statutes, the administration is going against its wishes in challenging Arizona’s new law, according to the brief.
“For decades, Congress has urged local police and other officials to support efforts to identify illegal immigrants, allowing federal officials to take them into custody,” Lewis said. “We have passed numerous laws that encourage, reward and promise cooperation with local authorities who help in enforcing our immigration laws.”
“I believe, and my colleagues believe, that it is a waste of federal resources for our Justice Department to file suit claiming that the Arizona law usurps federal authority, which completely disregards these laws,” Lewis said. “This filing should remind the court that Congress, not the administration, sets policy on immigration.”
According to the amicus brief, active federal laws establish that:
· State and local law enforcement officials have the authority to arrest unlawfully present aliens.
· Bans cities from declaring themselves “sanctuaries” and protecting illegal immigrants from detention.
· Require federal officials to respond to state and local authorities requesting assistance with immigration status inquiries.
· Created and maintain the Law Enforcement Support Center Database specifically to aid state and local authorities in identifying immigration status.
· All states must ensure that their driver’s licenses are not issued to illegal immigrants, under the REAL ID act.
· Provide federal funds to reimburse states for incarceration of criminal aliens, and grants to support programs like the 287-G program used by both San Bernardino and Riverside County Sheriffs to identify illegal immigrants who have been arrested or incarcerated.
The brief makes a strong point that the Arizona law follows these statutes, and therefore should not be considered an undermining of federal policy on immigration enforcement.
“I am hopeful that the federal court will throw out this suit, and I am urging the administration to use the funds it is wasting on suing Arizona to instead become more vigilant in enforcing border security,” Lewis said. “When the border is secure, states will not need to pass these kinds of laws.”
May 21, 2010
Has the Mojave Cross have been removed for good?
A cross replacing the original at the Mojave Desert war memorial has been declared illegal and taken down.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the 9th Circuit overstepped its bounds when it ruled the cross must be removed. Since then, the memorial had remained covered with a plywood box until it was stolen on May 9.
Linda Slater, public information officer with the Mojave National Preserve, said the cross that mysteriously appeared last week was unauthorized.
"The main reason that we can't put a replacement cross up or allow one to be put up," she said, "is because we are under court order to not display a cross on Sunrise Rock."
Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of Liberty Institute, said his team will work to convince the Justice Department to replace the cross.
"That's not a proper act to take," he said. "Our veterans deserve more than that, and that memorial needs to be put back up."
An anonymous donation means there is a $125,000 reward posted for tips leading to the conviction of whoever stole the cross that served as a memorial to Americans who served during World War I.
A decorated military veteran offered $100,000 for the reward, said Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel for Liberty Institute. That figure was added to the previous $25,000 offer.
The cross stood at Sunrise Rock, which is about 15 miles south of the 15 Freeway along Cima Road in the Mojave National Preserve.