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- 02-23-2012, 10:31 AM #1
Utah Immigration Laws Must Be Blocked, U.S. Tell Judge
Utah Immigration Laws Must Be Blocked, U.S. Tell Judge
February 23, 2012, 8:44 AM EST
By Andrew Harris and Shelley Osterloh
Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- A Utah law requiring police to verify the
immigration status of people arrested on felony charges violates the U.S.Constitution and must be blocked, lawyers for the federal government said.
That measure was included in a package of four bills signed into
law last year by Governor Gary R. Herbert in a legislative package he called“the Utah solution” to illegal immigration.
The U.S. asked U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups in Salt Lake
City for an order temporarily blocking the status- verification law and twoother measures it says conflicts with powers reserved to the federal government.
Justice Department attorney Joshua Wilkenfeld told Waddoups today that the law also risks damaging federal prosecution of more serious crimes, such as drug trafficking.
“Just asking aliens for information can interfere with government’s ability to pursue high priorities of federal law enforcement,” he
Barry Lawrence, a lawyer in the office of Utah Attorney General
Mark Shurtleff, said the purpose of the statute is to identify people who are arrested and to determine how many crimes are committed by those who aren’t lawfully in the U.S.
“An officer cannot walk up and say, ‘Show me your papers,’”
Lawrence said. “What we are doing is identifying people who are committing crimes. If there isn’t an arrest, we don’t get to the verification.”
Subject to Removal
The U.S. also asked the judge to block enforcement of measures
authorizing police to arrest without a warrant people they believe are subject to the removal order of an immigration judge and making it a felony to encourage or induce an illegal alien to enter or settle in Utah.
“In our constitutional system, the power to regulate immigration
is exclusively vested in the federal government,” the U.S. argued in court papers. “The state of Utah has crossed this constitutional line.”
The U.S. sued to block the law in November, six months after a
challenge was first lodged by a Latino civil rights advocacy group, Utah
Coalition of La Raza. Waddoups has consolidated the cases.
The state argues the U.S. is mischaracterizing the legislation,
known as HB 497, and says it’s consistent with congressional mandates and is constitutional.
“This issue is neither difficult nor complicated,” the state’s
attorneys told Waddoups in a Jan. 17 submission.
Utah spends almost $8 million a year to keep about 300 illegal
immigrants in prison, according to the state’s filing, while more than $55 million is spent on public education of undocumented children.
“There are those who will say these bills may not be perfect,
but they are a step in the right direction and they are better than what we had,” Herbert said in a statement after signing the legislation on March 15.
Utah’s act and immigration measures enacted by the governors of
Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina have all been challenged by the U.S. government.
The U.S. Supreme Court in December said it would review a San
Francisco-based federal appeals court’s 2011 ruling that barred enforcement of an Arizona law requiring police to check immigration status when they stop or arrest a person they have reasonable suspicion to believe is in the country illegally.
Utah lies in a different federal appellate circuit than Arizona,
its neighbor to the south.
An Atlanta-based appeals court on March 1 will hear arguments on
state and federal government challenges to a September ruling by U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn in Birmingham, Alabama, blocking parts of package of immigration control measures signed into law by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.
A federal judge in South Carolina, Richard M. Gergel, in
December blocked enforcement of a law in that state which would require police officers suspecting somebody of unlawfully being in the U.S. to check their
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s administration is
appealing Gergel’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond,
Congress has empowered the states to communicate and cooperate
with one another and with the federal government on immigration enforcement efforts, Utah said in court papers opposing the U.S. bid for a court order blocking the law.
“HB 497 reflects Utah’s attempt to undertake its supporting role
in the fight against illegal immigration, within the parameters set by
Congress,” Utah told Waddoups. “HB 497 does not conflict with Congress’ mandate, but is entirely consistent with it.”
While Waddoups heard about six hours of argument today, he
issued no ruling on the preliminary injunction request and said he may refrain from doing so until after the Supreme Court rules in the Arizona case.
A temporary restraining order issued by Waddoups in May blocked
the law from taking effect. The judge today said at the end of today’s hearing that that order remains in effect.
Outside the court, Alicia Cervantes -- a Utah native of Latino
descent who was a co-plaintiff when the lawsuit was filed by the Utah Coalition of La Raza last year -- told reporters she feared the legislation could separate families and divide communities.
“It’s not the Utah I grew up in,” she said. “Utah deserves
better than that.”
The case is Utah Coalition of La Raza v. Herbert, 11-401, U.S.
District Court, District of Utah (Salt Lake City).
Utah Immigration Laws Must Be Blocked, U.S. Tell Judge
- 02-23-2012, 10:49 AM #2
Bringing the outside in at Eric Holder's Justice Department
Wed, 2011-04-13 20:05
Attorney General Eric Holder tours the country proclaiming that he has "reinvigorated" the Civil Rights Division, compared to the Bush years. Reporters never ask precisely what he means. The American people might not like answer.
Holder really means adopting outside activist agendas far beyond the American legal mainstream. It also includes hiring a swarm of activist lawyers to advance an outside agenda from inside the federal government.
In December, the Justice Department filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the Berkeley School District in Illinois. The school district had refused to allow a new teacher to take three weeks off during final exams so she could go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, an unreasonable demand far beyond what federal law requires.
The lead Justice Department lawyer on the case says a great deal about why this case was filed. The senior career trial attorney who signed the complaint, and therefore was in charge of the investigation, is Varda Hussain.
Hussain used to be a lawyer at the Venable law firm in Virginia. In 2006, she received the firm's Benjamin R. Civiletti Pro Bono award for spending "over 500 hours in the past year fighting to bring due process to our clients."
Who were the particular clients Hussain spent so much time helping? Three Egyptian terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay. Although when the Venable firm wrote its internal newsletter that reported on this award, it called them merely "Egyptian clients," here's what they are: terrorists.
That sort of euphemism for murderous thugs who want to destroy America is needed at a law firm that doesn't want to upset its business clients about the work Hussain was doing to help America's deadliest enemies get away with murder and mayhem. She received an award for the work no less!
Other bizarre cases have come out of the Holder Civil Rights Division. DOJ stopped the debut of the Amazon Kindle because it was not in Braille. It attacked South Carolina for providing special treatment to inmates infected with AIDS. It demanded that Dayton, Ohio, hire black police officers who failed the competency examination.
The attorney hires have also been bizarre.
Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez hired Aaron Schuham from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, one of the most hostile organizations in the United States toward organized religion. Founded as a rabidly anti-Catholic organization in 1947, the group has taken the lead in stopping public expressions of faith. Schuham's new job in Holder's Justice Department? Protecting religious liberty. Attorney hires like Schuham's lead to reasonable questions about the administration's motivation.
Who did Holder pick to head the unit inside civil rights to bring civil rights lawsuits against police departments and prisons? Why none other than Jonathan Smith, formerly of the Prisoners Legal Services Project and the D.C. Legal Aid Society, two anti-police and anti-prison guard antagonist groups. Hopefully America's police unions will take note of Smith's hiring when deciding presidential endorsements next year.
These attorneys are just the tip of the iceberg, but the DOJ is concealing the full scope of the problem. Pajamas Media submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the DOJ in the summer of 2010 seeking the resumes of all the new Obama hires inside the Civil Rights Division.
The Bush DOJ complied with an identical request from the Boston Globe after three weeks in 2007. Pajamas Media had to sue Holder in January, and the resumes still have not been provided. Phony transparency is worse than none at all.
When Holder speaks of "reopening and reinvigorating" the Civil Rights Division, what he is really saying is giving lawyers like Hussain, Schuham and Smith high-paying government jobs where they can use taxpayer money to push an agenda shared by outside activist groups.
Attorneys in the Civil Rights Division should be legal technicians, not activists. The division is the only division of the Justice Department where cases are initiated and brought by low-level line attorneys.
Every other division is reactive, not proactive. If adopting the agenda of outside activist groups constitutes "reinvigorating" the Civil Rights Division, the next Republican president needs to deinvigorate it soon after taking office.
J. Christian Adams served as a lawyer in the Civil Rights Division and covers election law at electionlawcenter.com.
The Washington Examiner
Submitted for Pulitzer, The "Every Single One Series" by
Hans A. von Spakovsy, details all of the "new hires" of the DOJ since 2008. Must read.
‘Every Single One’: PJ Media’s Investigation of Justice Department Hiring Practices
Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Voting Section
Reviewing the Resumes: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Voting Section
Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Immigration Office
Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Special Litigation Section
Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Education Section
Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Employment Section
Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Compliance Section
Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Housing Section
Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Disability Rights Section
Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Criminal Section
Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Appellate Section
‘Every Single One’ Fallout: Justice Dept. in Turmoil From PJMedia Series