Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
Cuccinelli in a press release says he will protect Virginia’s right to enforce federal immigration laws.
RICHMOND (July 14, 2010) – Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today that he has joined a coalition of nine states filing an amicus brief in federal court supporting Arizona’s new immigration reform law. Arizona’s law is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Obama Administration.
“In creating immigration laws over the years, Congress created a joint federal-state cooperative immigration enforcement program. States merely report the immigration status of persons they have lawfully detained to the federal government. They do not make determinations regarding deportation, as that is a federal matter. While much of border enforcement is left to the federal government, federal law expressly allows states to arrest people who are not legally present in the United States. Arizona’s law doesn’t change any of this. That’s why we are stunned that the government has sued Arizona,” said Cuccinelli.
The amicus brief, filed today in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, defends Arizona’s and all states’ authority to concurrently enforce federal immigration laws, especially in light of the selective and even lack of enforcement of those laws by the federal government. Under current circumstances, states have lost control over their borders and are left to guess at the reality of the law.
On July 6, 2010, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder filed a lawsuit against Arizona and its governor, Jan Brewer, on behalf of President Obama to stop implementation of the state’s new immigration law. In its suit, the Obama Administration alleges that Arizona’s law is preempted by federal law and seeks an injunction against its enforcement.
The nine states that have signed the brief are Virginia, Michigan, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Nebraska, and South Dakota. One U.S. territory, the Northern Mariana Islands, has also joined. The coalition of states is being led by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox.
Virginia already has a joint program with the federal government to check the immigration status of people who are booked for crimes anywhere in the state. In June, Cuccinelli, along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announced Virginia as only one of two states that had implemented the Secure Communities program statewide. The program enables criminal aliens to be identified at the time they are booked in a jail anywhere in Virginia, and those convicted of serious crimes can be prioritized for deportation after serving their sentences.
The federal lawsuit against Arizona is titled The United States of America v. The State of Arizona and Janice K. Brewer, Governor.