Julie Myers Wood Discusses Arizona's Controversial Immigration Law

Julie Myers Wood Discusses Arizona's Controversial Immigration Law

In this Emerging Issues commentary, Julie Myers Wood, former Assistant Secretary running U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), examines the new Arizona immigration law (S.B. 1070, amended by H.B. 2162). She analyzes some key relevant provisions, including the requirement for aliens to register and carry documents. Based on her years at ICE, Ms. Wood discusses the potential legal and logistical challenges of the new law. She writes:

"The new Arizona law has as its goal 'attrition through enforcement,' and it contains an extremely broad set of categories and penalties designed to attack illegal immigration. The response to the bill has been overwhelming rhetoric, often with little analysis of particular bill provisions and laced with ulterior motives on how to address the broader issue of illegal immigration."

"The drafters of the Arizona statute appear to have worked hard to avoid potential federal preemption problems. They have drafted the statute consistently with federal definitions and looked to federal officials (or their delegees) to determine alienage. Nonetheless, it appears that the Arizona statute goes further than other successful local immigration laws, and may be more subject to a serious preemption challenge."

"Aside from the legal challenges, the law is likely to face some significant logistical challenges. In particular, the law depends on the cooperation and interaction of ICE and CBP. The law explicitly relies on ICE and CBP to identify individuals as aliens, train Arizona officers, and then be willing to assume custody of identified aliens after they are released from Arizona custody."

 Julie Myers Wood


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