Last week, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta told representatives of Alabama and Georgia that they were going to wait for the highest court’s decision in the Arizona immigration case before handing down a ruling of their own.
The decision was a somewhat anticlimactic conclusion to this latest round of legal arguments over the constitutional situs of immigration authority.
Judges listened to about three hours of oral arguments from attorneys for the federal government and for the state governments of Alabama and Georgia. The former argued that the Constitution grants exclusive power to the federal government to set and administer laws for the control of immigration to the United States. For their part, state Attorneys General argued that the feds were derelict in their duty to thwart the unchecked influx of illegals into their respective state borders.
According to U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Beth Brinkmann (pictured), speaking on behalf of the Department of Justice, if enforced, the state laws in controversy would unlawfully conflict with federal immigration statutes and would contribute to a patchwork of state and local laws, many of which would contradict currently operative federal immigration policies and principles.
Specifically, the federal government claims that in its interpretation of the Constitution, Washington has exclusive and preeminent authority to promulgate immigration regulations. This power, it says, derives from the Constitution, as well as from numerous laws passed by successive Congresses.
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