Cox Leads Ten States in Support of Arizona Immigration Law, State Sovereignty

Contact: John Sellek or Joy Yearout 517-373-8060

September 2, 2010


            LANSING Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox today announced that he filed an amicus brief this afternoon with the U.S. Court of Appeals supporting Arizona's common-sense immigration reform law against a lawsuit filed by the Obama administration.  The brief filed in support of Arizona's law follows a July 2010 ruling by Arizona District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton that barred Arizona's new immigration law, SB 1070, from taking effect on July 29, 2010 as intended by Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona legislature. Michigan is the lead state backing Arizona before the Court and is joined by ten states: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia.

  Cox, who also led the coalition of nine states that filed an earlier amicus brief supporting Arizona's law in District Court, said, "When Arizona and other states attempt to exercise their sovereignty and protect their borders, their efforts should not be hindered by the federal government or judicial activism.  As this case moves forward, we will continue to stand for state sovereignty and the citizens of Arizona as they fight to improve security and confront the problem of illegal immigration."

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said, "The vast majority of the people of Arizona and I are so appreciative of the leadership and support shown by Attorney General Cox and the leaders of the other states in our fight with the federal government.  We are all together in this historic fight to vindicate the long-standing rights of states to complement the efforts of our federal government in enforcing immigration laws.   I am confident we will win in the end, even if we have to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court."  

On July 28, 2010, U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton barred parts of Sections 2 and 5, and all of Sections 3 and 6, of the Arizona immigration law from going into effect pending the outcome of a lawsuit by the Obama administration.  The affected provisions include parts of the law requiring police to determine the immigration status at lawful stops when they have reasonable suspicion individuals are in the country illegally and the measure creating a state crime for failing to possess immigration documents.

Michigan's amicus brief, signed by ten states and filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, defends the states' authority to concurrently enforce federal immigration laws, especially in light of the selective and even lack of enforcement of those laws by the Obama administration.  Under the current situation, the states have lost control over their borders and are left with uncertainty regarding the reality of the law. 

In the brief, the states are challenging the District Court's unreasonable interpretation of Senate Bill 1070, arguing that "a State enforcing Congress' intent too well cannot violate Congress' intent."  The brief reads, "It is illogical to conclude that the States, in acting cooperatively as authorized by federal law and under the inherent authority to arrest for violations of federal law, act as an obstacle to Congress' purposes and objectives" (p. 27).

"It's absurd to claim that states exercising their sovereign authority to enforce federal law could undermine the objectives of Congress, who drafted and approved the very cooperative enforcement plan that calls upon attorneys general to enforce federal law in the first place," said Cox.

Today's brief is the second multi-state effort led by Cox to defend Arizona and state sovereignty in federal court.  In July 2010, Michigan was the lead state backing Arizona at the district court level and was joined by Florida, Alabama, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and the U.S. Territory of the Northern Mariana Islands.  

In December 2007, Cox issued a formal attorney general's opinion ending Michigan's practice of granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens.



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