By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange was at attendance during the U.S. Supreme Courts hearing of oral arguments about Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration case. Following the oral arguments, AG Strange released his comments about the case.
AG Strange said, “I was pleased today to attend the U.S. Supreme Court arguments on Arizona’s immigration law. The Court, in this landmark case, will provide guidance on the validity of Arizona’s immigration law which will impact Alabama’s immigration law along with those of several other states.”
President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has sued the state of Alabama in federal court in an attempt to block enforcement of the Alabama anti-illegal immigration law, HB 56 (the Hammon-Beason Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act). That case has been put on hold by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals while they await the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona Law.
During the oral arguments before the Court today Chief Justice Roberts said, “All it (the Arizona Law) does is notify the federal government, ‘Here is someone who is here illegally.’” “The discretion to prosecute for federal immigration offenses rests entirely with the attorney general.” “It seems to me that the federal government just doesn’t want to know who is here illegally or not.”
AG Strange continued, “Illegal immigration is a serious issue facing Alabama and other states across our nation, and it has been addressed by state legislatures in various ways. Alabama wants to cooperate with the federal government to fulfill the goals established by Congress in the manner that Congress provided.”
Although it is illegal for a non-citizen of the United States to reside in this country without permission from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, President Barack H. Obama has not made enforcement of American Immigration laws a priority of his administration. U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) generally does not usually concern itself with hunting non-criminal illegal aliens. As a result the United States has an illegal alien population of 11.5 million.
In today’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia asked, “What does sovereignty mean if it does not include the ability to defend your borders?” President Obama appointee Sonia Sotomayor told Obama’s Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, ““You can see it’s not selling very well.”
AG Strange said, “Alabama’s law represents a spirit of cooperation with the federal government. I am cautiously optimistic that the Supreme Court will recognize that the states can play an important role in assisting the federal government in fulfilling its responsibility to enforce the immigration laws of this country.”
Instead of thanking Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Utah and Arizona for helping ICE by identifying and capturing illegal aliens, the Obama administration has actually sued the states that have made laws which punished illegal aliens and the employers who hire them. The Obama administration is arguing that since federal law preempts state law that states can not pass laws which regulate the same area as the existing federal law.
The sponsors of HB56, State Senator Scott Beason (R) from Gardendale and State Rep. Mickey Hammon (R) from Decatur have each sponsored competing bills which they hope will make the law more enforceable and more acceptable to the federal courts, SB451 and HB658. The Alabama Senate is likely to decide which of the two bills will come out of the Alabama Senate in coming weeks.
To read Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange’s comments in their entirety: