Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Law Professor Kris Kobach on Arizona's Immigration Law

I meant to post on Kris Kobach last week, when the Los Angeles Times reported on him, "A voice for Arizona's immigration law: Law professor Kris Kobach is a popular defender of the state's strict new immigration law, which he helped write. Both the law and Kobach are targets of public outcry."

And now, from last night on Greta's, "
The Man Behind Arizona's Immigration Law":

Also, at Washington Post, "Memo from 2002 could complicate challenge of Arizona immigration law" (via Memeorandum):
In the legal battle over Arizona's new immigration law, an ironic subtext has emerged: whether a Bush-era legal opinion complicates a potential Obama administration lawsuit against Arizona.

The document, written in 2002 by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, concluded that state police officers have "inherent power" to arrest undocumented immigrants for violating federal law. It was issued by Jay S. Bybee, who also helped write controversial memos from the same era that sanctioned harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects.

The author of the Arizona law -- which has drawn strong opposition from top Obama administration officials -- has cited the authority granted in the 2002 memo as a basis for the legislation. The Obama administration has not withdrawn the memo, and some backers of the Arizona law said Monday that because it remains in place, a Justice Department lawsuit against Arizona would be awkward at best.

"The Justice Department's official position as of now is that local law enforcement has the inherent authority to enforce federal immigration law," said Robert Driscoll, a former Justice Department Civil Rights Division official in the George W. Bush administration who represents an Arizona sheriff known for aggressive immigration enforcement. "How can you blame someone for exercising authority that the department says they have?"

The Arizona law, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) last month, makes the "willful failure" to carry immigration documents a crime and empowers police to question anyone if authorities have a "reasonable suspicion" the person is an illegal immigrant. It has drawn words of condemnation from President Obama and intense opposition from civil rights groups, who on Monday filed what they said was the fifth federal lawsuit over the legislation.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has said the department is considering a lawsuit against Arizona, and Civil Rights Division lawyers have been studying the law and consulting with some civil rights groups.
RELATED: At Legal Insurrection, "Leadership by the Wilfully Ignorant."