As you know, the Department of Justice, at the direction of the Obama Administration, filed a federal lawsuit challenging Arizona's new immigration law set to take effect next week.
From the start, we understood that the Arizona law was constitutional and sound - a very effective means for protecting and security its border. That's something the federal government has failed to do. Instead, the federal government filed suit and now we have responsed - crafting a critical amicus brief on behalf of 81 members of Congress.
We worked on this brief with the Immigration Reform Law Institute and urge the federal court to deny the federal government's motion for a preliminary injunction against the Arizona law.
With this suit, it is clear that the Obama Administration is overstepping its constitutional authority in its legal challenge of the Arizona law. The American taxpayer would be better served if the federal government concentrated its efforts on securing our borders instead of pursuing a faulty legal course.
Arizona has a constitutional right to regulate immigration in conformance with federal law. The federal government's suit represents nothing more than a constitutional overreach and seeks to elevate the Executive Branchs discretionary power of enforcement to trump mandatory aspects of laws passed by Congress enabling the states to act on matters of immigration enforcement.
We're pleased so many members of Congress understand the separation of powers and exactly what's at stake here.
The brief filed explains that "Congress has plenary power over immigration law" and that Arizona's S.B.1070 "does not interfere with U.S. foreign policy goals as prescribed by Congress" as the federal government asserts.
The brief cites specific case law on the issue and argues that the federal government's lawsuit "misapprehends the nature of its authority to enforce immigration law," and notes that: " While the Executive has power to conduct United States foreign policy, Congress has plenary power to prescribe the immigration laws . . . Where Congress has prescribed those laws, the Executive must follow Congresss direction."
The brief states: "The Executives power to enforce federal immigration law does not confer the power to preempt state immigration enforcement by choosing, for foreign policy or other reasons, to selectively enforce the laws. Only Congresss 'clear and manifest purpose' preempts state laws. . . S.B. 1070 is not preempted because it is fully consonant and integrated with federal immigration laws."
The brief concludes: "Congress has plenary authority to regulate aliens. Congress has continuously encouraged states to assist in enforcing federal immigration law. S.B. 1070 is consistent with that intent."
The 81 members of the 111th Congress represented in the brief include Arizona Congressman Trent Franks and California Congressman Brian Bilbray, who assisted in generating Congressional participation in the brief.
Also included: Sen. John Barrasso, Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. James Inhofe, Sen. David Vitter, Sen. Roger Wicker, and the following members of the U.S. House of Representatives: Robert Aderholt, Rodney Alexander, Michele Bachmann, Spencer Bachus, Gresham Barrett, Gus Bilirakis, Rob Bishop, Marsha Blackburn, John Boozman, Kevin Brady, Paul Broun, Ginny Brown-Waite, Michael Burgess, Ken Calvert, John Campbell, John Carter, Jason Chaffetz, Howard Coble, Mike Coffman, John Culberson, Geoff Davis, David Dreier, John Duncan, John Fleming, Randy Forbes, Virginia Foxx, Elton Gallegly, Scott Garrett, Phil Gingrey, Louie Gohmert, Bob Goodlatte, Tom Graves, Wally Herger, Pete Hoekstra, Duncan Hunter, Lynn Jenkins, Walter Jones, Jim Jordan, Steve King, Jack Kingston, John Kline, Doug Lamborn, Robert Latta, Jerry Lewis, Cynthia Lummis, Michael McCaul, Tom McClintock, Thaddeus McCotter, Patrick McHenry, Gary Miller, Jeff Miller, Jerry Moran, Tim Murphy, Sue Myrick, Randy Neugebauer, Joe Pitts, Todd Platts, Ted Poe, Bill Posey, Tom Price, Phil Roe, Mike Rogers, Dana Rohrabacher, Ed Royce, Jean Schmidt, John Shadegg, Mike Simpson, Lamar Smith, Cliff Stearns, John Sullivan, Gene Taylor, Todd Tiahrt, Ed Whitfield, and Rob Whittman.
You can read the amicus brief here.
We've also heard from thousands of our members who signed on to the Committee to Protect Arizona's borders. Thousands of you who expressed support for the Arizona law and are calling on the federal government to protect and defend our borders.
The immigration issue is also before the Supreme Court. We intend to file an amicus brief with the high court in support of a 2007 immigration law enacted by Arizona - a case that will be heard next term by the high court.
This is a very important issue. We will keep you posted as developments unfold.