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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Let The Law Suit Begin- Legal Precedent Favors AZ In Immigration Battle

Jake Tapper reports the Obama administration will officially file a law suit against Arizona over the new immigration law about to be implemented, where police will be required to check the immigration status of individuals being held for another legal reason.

Obama administration sources tell ABC News that Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to file a lawsuit against the state of Arizona for its immigration law, likely next week.

The Daily Caller points out that Arizona has legal precedent on their side.

“We have had a number of challenges to our human smuggling law, our employer sanction law, our voter ID law, passed by the [Arizona] voters in 2004. They’ve all been upheld,” Thomas said. “The Justice Department will be going against this steady stream of cases that we have won in both federal and state court — unless they have come up with a brilliant new theory that basically invalidates the Supreme Court and other case law we’ve relied on.”

Thomas said a lawsuit could target provisions specific to SB 1070, but he noted that the majority of the bill would likely remain intact even if such a suit succeeded.

“It should just cut down that portion,” Thomas said. “If there were an ancillary part of the law that they had trouble with, they could strike that down and leave the rest alone.”

For Pearce, it is clear that any federal lawsuit would rest primarily on ideological — not legal — ground.

“The grounds basically are, ‘I don’t like the bill,’” Pearce said. “They have an agenda. That agenda is to not allow enforcement of these laws that have been on the books for 50 years.”

Malkin notes that Nebraska has joined the ranks of state's following Arizona's lead in enforcing federal law.

Hot Air points out that the DOJ itself has already been training local authorities to enforce the laws.

The DoJ itself will have to explain its own program to train local and state police on immigration law and enforcement through its Community Oriented Policing Services program. The Basic Immigration Enforcement Training (BIET) is a course offered over the Internet that covers exactly the kind of ground that SB1070 mandates:

Rather than spending valuable time and training funds on traditional classroom training, officers can now use Basic Immigration Enforcement Training (BIET) for their immigration training. BIET consists of Web-based courses, allowing officers to take classes when and wherever is most convenient for them.

A rising immigrant population in the U.S. has led to a dramatic increase in local, state, and tribal law enforcement encounters with both legal and illegal immigrants during routine police duties. As immigration continues to affect interior communities, there is an increasing demand for law enforcement officers to have a working knowledge of immigration law and policy.

BIET is a highly interactive, self-paced multimedia training program that addresses the immigration knowledge requirements of local, state, and tribal law enforcement officers. BIET addresses a wide range of topics including:

  • False identification
  • Identifying valid identification documents
  • Consular notification
  • Diplomatic immunity
  • Nonimmigrant visas
  • Immigrant and nonimmigrant status
  • Law Enforcement Support Center resources

BIET was developed by Cameron University and Advanced Systems Technology, Inc. with funding received from the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office. The pilot program was available for free to the first 500 officers from law enforcement departments.

The argument that immigration-law enforcement is exclusive to federal agents will be impossible to square with this current program. If local and state law enforcement aren’t supposed to enforce these laws, why is the DoJ training them to do so? If demanding and identifying valid identification documents and determining “immigrant and nonimmigrant status” are areas of expertise that the DoJ shares with state and local police, why wouldn’t they be expected to act on them? After all, isn’t the DoJ’s argument that the process of determining all of the above could be done in a discriminatory manner just as applicable to the very police officers the DoJ trains to do the same thing?

The Obama administration is about to fall on its face in court, and I suspect Arizona will make BIET one of its main exhibits.

Politically this is a landmine for Obama and Democrats because in all polls conducted nationally, (examples found here, here, here and here) the majority of Americans are siding with Arizona and when the administration goes head first against the American public, the party in power generally suffers politically in elections.

With the political atmosphere as toxic as it is for Democrats already heading into November, this is not a fight the Obama administration should be picking at this time.

Yet they are.