Highlights from United States v. State of Arizona (SB 1070)

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Presente_LicensePlateAZ_300pxHighlights from the opinion in United States v. State of Arizona, http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2011/04/11/10-16645.pdf.

Posture of The Appeal

Before Arizona’s new immigration law went into effect, the United States sued the State of Arizona in federal district court alleging that S.B. 1070 violated the Supremacy Clause on the grounds that it was preempted by the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), and that it violated the Commerce Clause. Along with its complaint, the United States filed a motion for injunctive relief seeking to enjoin implementation of S.B. 1070 in its entirety until a final decision is made about its constitutionality. Although the United States requested that the law be enjoined in its entirety, it specifically argued facial challenges to only six select provisions of the law. United States v. Arizona, 703 F. Supp. 2d 980, 992 (D. Ariz. 2010).

The district court granted the United States’ motion for a preliminary injunction in part, enjoining enforcement of S.B. 1070 Sections 2(B), 3, 5(C), and 6, on the basis that federal law likely preempts these provisions. Id. at 1008.

Arizona appealed the grant of injunctive relief, arguing that these four sections are not likely preempted; the United States did not cross-appeal the partial denial of injunctive relief. Thus, the United States’ likelihood of success on its federal preemption argument against these four sections is the central issue this appeal presents.

Appeal was reviewed on de novo standard of review.

Introduction to Opinion

We stress that the question before us is not, as Arizona has portrayed, whether state and local law enforcement officials can apply the statute in a constitutional way. Arizona’s framing of the Salerno issue assumes that S.B. 1070 is not preempted on its face, and then points out allegedly permissible applications of it. This formulation misses the point: there can be no constitutional application of a statute that, on its face, conflicts with Congressional intent and therefore is preempted by the Supremacy Clause.

[W]e conclude that the relevant provisions of S.B. 1070 facially conflict with Congressional intent as expressed in provisions of the INA. If that were not the case, as in Sprint, we would have next considered whether the statute could be applied in a constitutional manner.

Holding

For the foregoing reasons, we AFFIRM the preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of S.B. 1070 Sections 2(B), 3, 5(C), and 6.

AFFIRMED; REMANDED.

Section 2(B) of SB 1070

  • Congress explicitly required that in enforcing federal immigration law, state and local officers “shall” be directed by the Attorney General. This mandate forecloses any argument that state or local officers can enforce federal immigration law as directed by a mandatory state law.
  • Through Section 2(B), Arizona has enacted a mandatory and systematic scheme that conflicts with Congress’ explicit requirement that in the “[p]erformance of immigration officer functions by State officers and employees,” such officers “shall be subject to the direction and supervision of the Attorney General.” 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g)(3). Section 2(B) therefore interferes with Congress’ scheme because Arizona has assumed a role in directing its officers how to enforce the INA. We are not aware of any INA provision demonstrating that Congress intended to permit states to usurp the Attorney General’s role in directing state enforcement of federal immigration laws.
  • We agree that 8 U.S.C. § 1373(c) demonstrates that Congress contemplated state assistance in the identification of undocumented immigrants.10 We add, however, that Congress contemplated this assistance within the boundaries established in § 1357(g), not in a manner dictated by a state law that furthers a state immigration policy.
  • By imposing mandatory obligations on state and local officers, Arizona interferes with the federal government’s authority to implement its priorities and strategies in law enforcement, turning Arizona officers into state-directed DHS agents. As a result, Section 2(B) interferes with Congress’ delegation of discretion to the Executive branch in enforcing the INA.
  • [S]ection 2(B)’s interference with Congressionally-granted Executive discretion weighs in favor of preemption. Section 2(B)’s ‘unyielding” mandatory directives to Arizona law enforcement officers “undermine[ ] the President’s intended statutory authority” to establish immigration enforcement priorities and strategies. Crosby, 530 U.S. at 377.
  • [S.B.] 1070 Section 2(B) “stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress” as expressed in the aforementioned INA provisions. Hines, 312 U.S. at 67. The law subverts Congress’ intent that systematic state immigration enforcement will occur under the direction and close supervision of the Attorney General. Furthermore, the mandatory nature of Section 2(B)’s immigration status checks is inconsistent with the discretion Congress vested in the Attorney General to supervise and direct State officers in their immigration work according to federally-determined priorities. 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g)(3).
  • In light of the foregoing, we conclude that the United States has met its burden to show that there is likely no set of circumstances under which S.B. 1070 Section 2(B) would be valid, and it is likely to succeed on the merits of its challenge. The district court did not abuse its discretion by concluding the same.

Section 3 of SB 1070

  • Arizona argues that Section 3 is not preempted because Congress has “invited states to reinforce federal alien classifications.” Attempting to support this argument, Arizona cites INA sections outside the registration scheme where Congress has expressly indicated how and under what conditions states should help the federal government in immigration regulation. See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1621-25, 1324a(h)(2).
  • We are not persuaded by Arizona’s argument. An authorization from one section does not—without more—carry over to other sections. Nothing in the text of the INA’s registration provisions indicates that Congress intended for states to participate in the enforcement or punishment of federal immigration registration rules.
  • In addition, S.B. 1070 Section 3 plainly stands in opposition to the Supreme Court’s direction: “where the federal government, in the exercise of its superior authority in this field, has enacted a complete scheme of regulation and has therein provided a standard for the registration of aliens, states cannot, inconsistently with the purpose of Congress, conflict or interfere with, curtail or complement, the federal law, or enforce additional or auxiliary regulations.” Hines, 312 U.S. at 66-67.
  • Section 3’s state punishment for federal registration violations fits within the Supreme Court’s very broad description of proscribed state action in this area—which includes “complement[ing]” and “enforc[ing] additional or auxiliary regulations.”
  • The Supreme Court’s more recent preemption decisions involving comprehensive federal statutory schemes also indicate that federal law preempts S.B. 1070 Section 3.
  • [We] conclude that the United States has met its burden to show that there is likely no set of circumstances under which S.B. 1070 Section 3 would be valid, and it is likely to succeed on the merits of its challenge. The district court did not abuse its discretion by concluding the same.

Section 5 of SB 1070

  • [W]ith respect to S.B. 1070 Section 5(C), we “start with the assumption that the historic police powers of the States were not to be superseded by the Federal Act unless that was the clear and manifest purpose of Congress.” Wyeth, 129 S. Ct. at 1194 (internal quotations and citations omitted) (quoting Medtronic, 518 U.S. at 485).
  • [O]ur decision in National Center requires us to conclude that federal law likely preempts S.B. 1070 Section 5(C), since the state law conflicts with what we have found was Congress’ IRCA intent.
  • [We] conclude that the text of 8 U.S.C. § 1324a, combined with legislative history demonstrating Congress’ affirmative choice not to criminalize work as a method of discouraging unauthorized immigrant employment, likely reflects Congress’ clear and manifest purpose to supercede state authority in this context. We are further guided by the Supreme Court’s decision in Puerto Rico Dep’t of Consumer Affairs v. Isla Petroleum Corp., 485 U.S. 495 (1988).
  • Here, Congress’ inaction in not criminalizing work, joined with its action of making it illegal to hire unauthorized workers, justifies a preemptive inference that Congress intended to prohibit states from criminalizing work.
  • In the context of unauthorized immigrant employment, Congress has deliberately crafted a very particular calibration of force which does not include the criminalization of work. By criminalizing work, S.B. 1070 Section 5(C) constitutes a substantial departure from the approach Congress has chosen to battle this particular problem. Therefore, Arizona’s assertion that this provision “furthers the strong federal policy” does not advance its argument against preemption. Sharing a goal with the United States does not permit Arizona to “pull[ ] levers of influence that the federal Act does not reach.”
  • By pulling the lever of criminalizing work—which Congress specifically chose not to pull in the INA—Section 5(C) “stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.” It is therefore likely that federal law preempts Section 5(C).
  • [We] conclude that the United States has met its burden to show that there is likely no set of circumstances under which S.B. 1070 Section 5(C) would not be preempted, and it is likely to succeed on the merits of its challenge. The district court did not abuse its discretion by concluding the same.

Section 6 of SB 1070

  • Section 6 … allows for warrantless arrests when there is probable cause to believe that an individual committed a removable offense in Arizona, served his or her time for the criminal conduct, and was released; and when there is probable cause to believe that an individual was arrested for a removable offense but was not prosecuted.
  • Thus, the question we must decide is whether federal law likely preempts Arizona from allowing its officers to effect warrantless arrests based on probable cause of removability. Because arresting immigrants for civil immigration violations is not a “field which the States have traditionally occupied,” we do not start with a presumption against preemption of Section 6. Wyeth, 129 S. Ct. at 1194.
  • We first turn to whether Section 6 is consistent with Congressional intent. As authorized by 8 U.S.C. § 1252c, state and local officers may, “to the extent permitted by relevant State . . . law,” arrest and detain an individual [ ].
  • Nothing in this provision permits warrantless arrests, and the authority is conditioned on compliance with a mandatory obligation to confirm an individual’s status with the federal government prior to arrest. Moreover, this provision only confers state or local arrest authority where the immigrant has been convicted of a felony. Section 6, by contrast, permits warrantless arrests if there is probable cause that a person has “committed any public offense that makes the person removable.” Misdemeanors, not just felonies, can result in removablility.
  • Thus, Section 6 authorizes state and local officers to effectuate more intrusive arrests than Congress has permitted in Section 1252c.
  • [W]e are not aware of any INA provision indicating that Congress intended state and local law enforcement officers to enjoy greater authority to effectuate a warrantless arrest than federal immigration officials.
  • Thus, Section 6 significantly expands the circumstances in which Congress has allowed state and local officers to arrest immigrants. Federal law does not allow these officers to conduct warrantless arrests based on probable cause of civil removability, but Section 6 does. Therefore, Section 6 interferes with the carefully calibrated scheme of immigration enforcement that Congress has adopted, and it appears to be preempted.
  • Contrary to the State’s view, we simply are not persuaded that Arizona has the authority to unilaterally transform state and local law enforcement officers into a state-controlled DHS force to carry out its declared policy of attrition.
  • We are not aware of any binding authority holding that states possess the inherent authority to enforce the civil provisions of federal immigration law — we now hold that states do not have such inherent authority.
  • In sum, we are not persuaded that Arizona has the inherent authority to enforce the civil provisions of federal immigration law. Therefore, Arizona must be federally authorized to conduct such enforcement. Congress has created a comprehensive and carefully calibrated scheme—and has authorized the Executive to promulgate extensive regulations — for adjudicating and enforcing civil removability. S.B. 1070 Section 6 exceeds the scope of federal authorization for Arizona’s state and local officers to enforce the civil provisions of federal immigration law. Section 6 interferes with the federal government’s prerogative to make removability determinations and set priorities with regard to the enforcement of civil immigration laws. Accordingly, Section 6 stands as an obstacle to the full purposes and objectives of Congress.
  • [We] conclude that the United States has met its burden to show that there is likely no set of circumstances under which S.B. 1070 Section 6 would be valid, and it is likely to succeed on the merits of its challenge. The district court did not abuse its discretion by concluding the same.

Foreign Policy Arguments

In each of the above arguments, the court of appeals also included these foreign policy arguments:

  • In addition to Section [  ] standing as an obstacle to Congress’ statutorily expressed intent, the record unmistakably demonstrates that S.B. 1070 has had a deleterious effect on the United States’ foreign relations, which weighs in favor of preemption. See generally Garamendi, 539 U.S. 396 (finding obstacle preemption where a State law impinged on the Executive’s authority to singularly control foreign affairs); Crosby, 530 U.S. 363 (same).
  • Arizona’s law has created actual foreign policy problems of a magnitude far greater than incidental. Garamendi, 539 U.S. at 419 (emphasis added).
  • Finally, the threat of 50 states layering their own immigration enforcement rules on top of the INA also weighs in favor of preemption.

Circuit Judge John Noonan emphasized these foreign policy considerations in his concurring opinion.

The dissent by Circuit Judge Carlos Bea was met with critical response from his colleagues in the majority opinion in numerous footnotes. Footnote 6 is representative of their tone:

We have carefully considered the dissent and we respond to its arguments as appropriate. We do not, however, respond where the dissent has resorted to fairy tale quotes and other superfluous and distracting rhetoric. These devices make light of the seriousness of the issues before this court and distract from the legitimate judicial disagreements that separate the majority and dissent.

After reading the dissent, I can understand the reason for their critical tone. It's opinions like this that make me wonder how some judges ever got appointed to the court. (Yes, I know it is politics).

0 responses to “Highlights from United States v. State of Arizona (SB 1070)

  1. Great summary. Thanks for saving me the trouble 🙂