Arizona SB 1070 on January Research Paper

Pages: 8 (2521 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Law


When discussing exactly why immigration policy and enforcement is in the hands of the federal government, other opponents of the law, in their lawsuits, brought this issue to the court. In the case of League of United Latin American Citizens v. State of Arizona, two civil rights groups, along with several citizens, filed suit that the Arizona law was already preempted by federal law under the "Supremacy, Interstate Commerce, and Due Process clauses of the Constitution." ("Arizona SB 1070") The groups associated with this lawsuit content that Arizona's law permits "law enforcement officers to rely upon vague and ill-defined factors such as a person's 'dress,' 'difficulty communicating in English,' 'demeanor,' and 'claim of not knowing others…at the same location,' as providing justification for a detention based on suspected undocumented status."(League of United Latin American, 2010, p.5) The loosely defined parameters of what could constitute an "illegal alien" in the eyes of an individual police officer can only be interpreted as allowing the police to declare anyone who cannot immediately prove citizenship as a suspected "illegal alien" and potentially be arrested on the spot. Because the United States cannot operate with an immigration policy that is dependent upon which state one happens to be in, or even local jurisdiction, authority to set immigration policy and enforcement must remain with the federal government.

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TOPIC: Research Paper on Arizona SB 1070 on January Assignment

Immigration policy is not simply an issue that deals with illegal immigrants entering the United States, "it can effect trade, tourism, and diplomatic relations for the entire Nation." (Arizona v. United States, 2012, p.3) So dealing with the issue of undocumented immigrants is not an issue that one state can legislate; one state cannot interfere with the federal government's constitutional authority to carry on diplomatic relations with other nations. This is exactly what happened when Arizona attempted to enact SB 1070, it interfered with the relationship between the United States of America and a number of other countries, including Mexico. Another aspect of the Arizona law is that it does not take into account the different circumstances of illegal immigrants and their priority as understood by the federal government. For instance, while it may be illegal to enter the United States without proper documentation, limitations within the federal government forces it to make the deportation of some undocumented aliens more important than others. And economic factors may only allow for the deportation of a criminal rather than an undocumented farm laborer.

Because the federal government has priorities and must take into consideration factors that an individual state may not, "the federal government alone can regulate immigration and naturalization. The states are forbidden to legislate on this subject." (Kanovitz, 2010, p.12) There is a clear and well-defined separation between the authority of the States and that of the federal government; each has its powers and may not interfere with the other's. "The federal government, for example, may not use its Article 1 powers to force state governments to enact particular laws, administer federal programs, enforce federal statutes." (Kanovitz, 2010, p.18) And if the federal government cannot force a state to enforce federal statutes, it is logical that a state cannot assume the authority to do so. When Arizona enacted SB 1070, it was assuming the authority of the federal government, and this is unconstitutional. As the Supreme Court stated in its decision which sided against Arizona and struck down SB 1070 "federal law specifies limited circumstances in which state officers may perform an immigration officer's functions…." (Arizona v. United States, 2012, p.4) And since the federal government had not given the right to enforce federal immigration law to any individual state, Arizona had unconstitutionally assumed authority that was reserved to the federal government.


Citing frustration over what they considered to be the federal government's refusal to enforce federal immigration laws, the state of Arizona passed SB 1070, giving itself the authority to enforce existing federal immigration laws. Their purpose was clearly stated in the bill itself: to wage a war of attrition against illegal immigrants. To pursue this goal, the state empowered state and local law enforcement agencies to, in effect, stop and ask for the papers of anyone they considered to be in the United States illegally. Since the federal government would not do it, Arizona asserted, they would. However, as Justice Kennedy stated in the opinion of the Court, "the federal power to determine immigration policy is well settled." (Arizona v. United States, 2012, p.3) Arizona did not have the authority under the constitution to grant itself the power to enforce federal immigration laws. While the issue of illegal immigrants does effect the state of Arizona, as well as many other states, immigration policy is just one part of a much larger view of governance the Executive Branch must take into consideration. Arizona does not have to deal with the international consequences of its actions, but the nation as a whole does. And since the president's immigration enforcement policy affects a number of the nation's other interests, the president is authorized, and responsible for, the nation's immigration policy. Arizona may need help in dealing with the issue of illegal immigrants, but the answer was not to assume the authority of the federal government and set immigration policy.


"Arizona Offers Compelling Legal Arguments in Support of SB 1070, Says Fair."

(25 Apr. 2012). Federation For American Immigration Reform.

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"Arizona SB 1070, Legal Challenges and Economic Realities." Immigration

Policy Center: American Immigration Council. Retrieved from


Arizona v. United States. 567 U.S. Supreme Court of the United States. (2012).

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Kanovitz, Jacqueline R. (2010) Constitutional Law, 12th Edition

Anderson Publishing/Lexis Nexis: Cincinnati, OH. Print.

League of United Latin American Citizens v. State of Arizona, 2:10-cv-01453-NVW.

(2010). Retrieved from


"Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act: Summary of Arizona

SB 1070 as Enacted." (27 Apr. 2010). Federation For American Immigration

Reform. Retrieved from [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Arizona SB 1070 on January" Research Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Arizona SB 1070 on January.  (2012, November 29).  Retrieved September 23, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Arizona SB 1070 on January."  29 November 2012.  Web.  23 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Arizona SB 1070 on January."  November 29, 2012.  Accessed September 23, 2021.