Schuette to Lead State AGs in Defense of Public Safety, Arizona Immigration Case

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

January 27,  2011

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced his office will continue to lead a group of nine state attorneys general in supporting the State of Arizona's illegal immigration statute as it faces an ongoing legal challenge by the Obama Administration.

 "The enforcement of immigration laws and security of our borders should be a top priority for the federal government," said Schuette.  "Federal and state governments should work together to ensure the safety of our citizens.  Michigan stands ready to defend state sovereignty and will stand with Governor Brewer and the citizens of Arizona before the Supreme Court, if necessary."

Michigan is currently the lead state on the amicus brief filed in support of Arizona by state attorneys general with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Court heard oral arguments for the appeal on November 1, 2010 and has yet to issue a ruling. 

States signing on to Michigan's briefs filed at both the district and appellate court levels include: Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia. The U.S Territory of the Northern Mariana Islands also joined the briefs. 

The appeal to the Ninth Circuit came as a result of an injunction against Arizona's immigration law issued by Arizona District Court Judge Susan Bolton on July 28, 2010.  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer filed an expedited appeal with the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit asking the court to lift the injunction and allow the law to go forward in its entirety.  Judge Bolton blocked several major provisions, including parts of the law requiring police to work with the federal government to determine the immigration status of individuals at lawful stops when police have reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally, and the measure creating a state crime for failing to possess immigration documents.

The state coalition's amicus briefs defended 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.