Arizona passes Unconstitutional and Overly Punitive Anti-Immigrant Bill

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) strongly urges Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto a bill moving rapidly through the state legislature that would make it a crime to be an undocumented immigrant in the state.

In addition to the absurdity of aligning undocumented status with state trespassing, the law also validates racial profiling as a legitimate law enforcement tool which is precisely the reason why individuals and businesses around the country are beginning to seriously question whether Arizona is a safe place to visit, live, or do business.

The bill also creates a private right of action for any person to sue a city, town, or county for not enforcing immigration laws to the full extent of federal law and it establishes civil penalties for the city, town, or county. This subjects local governments to unreasonable and potentially frivolous litigation by private citizens with an anti-immigrant agenda. Even if a municipality is vindicated in court, it will still have to incur the costs of defense.

The problems with this bill are monumental and the consequences will be devastating to the citizens of Arizona and the state’s already fragile economy. At last glance, Arizona was in the throes of a massive budgetary crisis. Arizona’s economy simply cannot afford to absorb the costly litigation that this ill-conceived legislation will certainly produce. Moreover it sets a bad example for other states to pass similar bills. Already other states like Ohio and Utah are entertaining similar legislation. Immigration is the domain of the federal government and it is a huge mistake for states to be involved.