Kagan and The Other Arizona Immigration Law

By Cullen Dirner

May 28, 2010 7:22pm

ABC News' Ariane DeVogue reports:

Tonight the Obama Administration finally weighed in on a strict Arizona immigration law. Not the one you think.

This Law—the Legal Arizona Workers Act– sanctions employers for knowingly or intentionally employing unauthorized aliens. In November, the Supreme Court asked the Office of Solicitor General to tell the Court whether it thinks the case should be heard.

Tonight, on the eve of a holiday weekend, the SG’s office advised  the Court to take up the case and decide whether federal immigration law preempts the Arizona law.

In the brief Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal says “Throughout the country States and localities  ..are continuing to consider and enact statutes …regulating the employment of unauthorized workers. “

The Government argues that the statutes have “generated confusion” and “will continue to do so absent guidance from either Congress or this Court.”

Katyal writes that provisions similar to the Legal Arizona Workers Act, “disrupt a careful balance that Congress struck nearly 25 years ago between two interest s of the highest importance: ensuring that employers do not undermine enforcement of immigration laws by hiring unauthorized workers, while also ensuring that employers no discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities legally in the country. “

Court watchers had been waiting for the filing, especially in the days leading up to Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court hoping that the brief might reveal Kagan’s opinions on a controversial subject. But the brief is signed by Katyal, who Kagan named as the government’s Counsel of Record while her nomination is pending.

Tonight the ACLU praised the government’s brief. “The main point is that they take a strong action to stop the chain of state laws that balkanize the area of immigration.”

- Ariane DeVogue

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