Term Paper: Arizona Immigration Law SB1070

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[. . .] The U.S. Chamber of Congress is reported to have sued the state because its "Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) violated the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which prohibits states from enforcing federal immigration laws with civil or criminal penalties. The Supreme Court upheld several minor court decisions that found LAWA, which was passed in 2007, did not violate IRCA because it only threatened to repeal the licenses of businesses that employ illegal aliens or which failed to use E-Verify." (American City and County, 2011)

It is reported that the District Court found that the IRCA's plain language in the preemption clause was not in violation of the Arizona law because the law "did no more than impose licensing conditions on businesses operating within the state. Nor was the state law preempted with respect to E-Verify, the court concluded, because although Congress had made the program voluntary at the national level, it had expressed no intent to prevent states from mandating participation. The Ninth Circuit affirmed." (American City and County, 2011)

Additionally reported is that the ICRA prohibits states from the imposition of "civil or criminal sanctions on those who employ unauthorized aliens, it preserves state authority to impose sanctions through licensing and similar laws." (American City and County, 2011) Chief Justice John Roberts is reported to have stated as follows: "That is what the Arizona law does -- it instructs courts to suspend or revoke the business licenses of in-state employers that employ unauthorized aliens." (American City and County, 2011)

Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer states that she "could not be more gratified" by the court's decision. "Arizona's employer sanctions law allows the vast majority of businesses that want to play by the rules to comply with federal and state laws against hiring illegal aliens, and seeks to punish those employers who take advantage of the federal government's immigration failures," Brewer said in a statement. "One result of the Legal Arizona Workers Act: Arizona employers now lead the nation in the use of the federal E-Verify system for determining the legal status of new employees." (American City and County, 2011)

Brewer states the hope that the decision on LAWA of the Supreme Court "bodes well for the state's planned appeal of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in July barred implementation of key parts of Arizona's controversial immigration reform law S.B. 1070." (American City and County, 2011) it is reported that SB 1070 would empower law enforcement officers in the state to check the status of immigration of the criminal suspects however, that part of the law was thrown out in a lawsuit that the Obama administration brought in the Ninth Circuit Court. (American City and County, 2011) Brewer is noted as having stated "In light of [the court's] decision [on LAWA,] I am more adamant than ever that states do have a complimentary role in enforcing federal immigration laws, despite the Obama administration's opposition at every turn." (American City and County, 2011)

Summary and Conclusion

This work in writing sought to examine and explain Arizona's SB1070 legislation and specifically the Immigration Act contained in SB1070 and further to ascertain the adherence of SB1070 to federal law. Examination of SB1070 reveals that set out in this Act is the objective of cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws throughout the state of Arizona. SB1070 is inclusive of provisions that serve to both discourage and deter aliens and their unlawful entry into the United States as well as deterring economic activity by individuals who are present in the U.S. unlawfully. This Act specifies that no authority in the State of Arizona can enforce limitations or restrictions on federal immigration law enforcement that is less than the extent that federal law permits. There has been a great deal of criticism of SB1070 however, the Governor of the State of Arizona is adamant that SB1070 adheres precisely to federal immigration laws and states that she believes that the laws contained in this Act are necessary and appropriate for addressing the problem of illegal immigration in the United States. This study has examined SB1070, compared SB1070 with federal laws on illegal immigration, and found that SB1070 is comparable to the federal immigration laws. Legislation of this Act in Arizona is perhaps viewed as harsh since other U.S. states have traditionally and historically failed to enforce federal immigration laws however, reports reviewed during the course of this study indicate that more U.S. states are now seeking to enforce immigration laws and for various reasons. While it is certain that these laws serve to make the lives of legal immigrants more difficult to maneuver, simultaneously, there does appear to be a move on the part of the consensus to bring about enforcement to federal standards of law in the area of immigration.


Archibold, Randal C. (2010) Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration. 23 Apr 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/24/us/politics/24immig.html

Fitzsimmons, Alex (2011) NBC Correspondent's Shorthand for SB-1070: Arizona's Nazi Law. 26 May 2011. CSPAN. Retrieved from: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/alex-fitzsimmons/2011/05/26/nbc-correspondents-shorthand-sb-1070-arizonas-nazi-law

Judge Bars Parts of Arizona Immigration Law (2010) American City and County. 28 Jul 2010. Retrieved from: http://americancityandcounty.com/pubsafe/arizona-immigration-barred-20100728/

State of Arizona. Senate Bill 1070. 49th Legislature, Second Regular Session 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf

Statement by Governor Jan Brewer: Immigration Victory for Arizona as… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Arizona Immigration Law SB1070.  (2011, May 30).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/arizona-immigration-law-sb1070/9341269

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"Arizona Immigration Law SB1070."  30 May 2011.  Web.  22 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/arizona-immigration-law-sb1070/9341269>.

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"Arizona Immigration Law SB1070."  Essaytown.com.  May 30, 2011.  Accessed July 22, 2019.