22 ‘Friends-of-the-Court’ Briefs Boost Campaign Against SB 1070

Published On: Donate

By now you’ve probably heard that over 350 individuals and organizations have  joined 22 amicus briefs supporting the U.S. government in its legal challenge to Arizona’s extreme immigration law, SB 1070.

But it’s something else altogether to see these “friends-of-the-court” briefs summed up in one place.

The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) has done a spectacular job of arraying the arguments in a single document that’s truly worth a look. The scope of the arguments against SB 1070 is jaw-dropping, as is the huge swathe of American society involved. Bishops, police officers, former military officials… reading it, one starts to wonder, “Who’s left supporting this law?”

Here’s a quick look at just a few of the briefs the NILC summarizes, starting with the one filed by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Reverend Gradye Parsons as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The NILC sums up the brief, which you can read  here, as follows:

Argues that SB 1070 impedes the considered and balanced judgment of federal immigration law. Specifically it undermines the federal goals of promoting family unity and human rights and dignity. The brief also argues that SB 1070 and laws like it threaten religious liberty by criminalizing so-called “harboring” and “transporting” of undocumented immigrants in such a way as to punish acts within the mission of religious organizations such as the provision of food, shelter, and care for all.

The NILC summary document goes on to capture the rest of the briefs. A small selection will give you an idea of the vast number of people raising objections to SB 1070:

Law Enforcement Officials & Organizations

Argues that SB 1070 will produce erroneous applications of immigration law; undermine law enforcement activities and federal enforcement priorities; and undermine local community policing efforts.

Over 30 Towns, Cities, and Counties

Argues that the enjoined provisions of SB 1070 impermissibly usurp scarce local resources that should be devoted to public safety. The brief also argues that SB 1070’s immigration verification provisions impose vague and unworkable requirements that effectively compel local law enforcement officials to violate the Constitution, creating liabilities for localities. Last, the brief argues that if the enjoined provisions were allowed to take effect the necessary trust between local law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve would be irreparably harmed.

Over 40 State Attorneys General

Argues that SB 1070 impermissibly interferes with local law enforcement by damaging police and prosecutors’ ability to effectively fight crime and undercutting their ability to establish enforcement priorities for their own jurisdictions. Business Organizations Discusses SB 1070’s impact on interstate commerce and argues that it violates the Dormant Commerce Clause by burdening commerce and providing little to no benefits to the state.

Former State Dept. & Military Officials

Argues that SB 1070, and laws like it, impermissibly interfere with foreign relations by undermining the exclusivity and uniformity of federal immigration law. Lays out legal and historical arguments relating to the federal government’s exclusive role in foreign relations, and how immigration policy is inextricably intertwined with foreign relations.

If you find any of these arguments compelling, we invite you to join us in making your voice heard. Contacting your representatives in Congress through the LIRS Action Center  is an excellent place to start, as is writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

Thanks to NILC for their excellent summary, and thank you  for reading about SB 1070. We’ll be posting more ways to take a stand against this law, so stay tuned!

Image credit: dbking

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