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By: Peter O'Dowd on 12/12/2011
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is praising the United States Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments on the state’s controversial immigration law. KJZZ's Peter O’Dowd reports.
PETER O’DOWD: The governor has argued since she signed SB 1070 last year that states must be allowed to enforce immigration laws because the federal government has failed to do so. Brewer says it’s about time the country gets clarification.
JAN BREWER: It’s about every state grappling with the costs of illegal immigration. And it’s about the fundamental principals of federalism under which every state has a right to defend its people.
Phoenix civil rights attorney Stephen Montoya says 100 years of case law is clear that immigration policy is the domain of the federal government. Montoya expects justices to find that states can not enact their own broad immigration policies.
STEPHEN MONTOYA: The Supreme Court, even though there is a five-to-four conservative split, is going to say, ‘hey, this is something that the federal government maintains exclusive jurisdiction over.' And the states can enforce federal immigration law, but only when it’s consistent with federal immigration law.
Montoya expects the Supreme Court to also hear a challenge to Alabama’s immigration law. It contains similar provisions to SB 1070, but also forces schools to ask the immigration status of students.
PETER O’DOWD: The Obama administration has filed lawsuits challenging strict immigration measures in three other states. The Supreme Court is expected to hear in the case in April.