Immigration Law

ABA to File Second Ariz. Immigration Law Brief, This One Weighing in on DOJ Suit

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The ABA will file yet another unusual trial-level, friend-of-the-court brief, this time in a federal suit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice challenging Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration legislation.

ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm said during a news conference today at the National Press Club that the ABA would file its brief this week.

The Arizona law, which has not taken effect, would require police during any lawful stop to ask about immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” to believe someone is an illegal alien.

That is problematic in part because it encourages racial profiling, but significantly “Our citizens aren’t required to carry identification,” Lamm said.

In June, the ABA filed a similar brief in a suit brought by the ACLU.

The DOJ suit keys especially on federal preemption in immigration law.

The same populist force behind the crackdown on illegal immigrants in Arizona – which has led to numerous allegations and lawsuits concerning racial profiling – has brought backlash against those challenging the Arizona legislation.

Lamm said that “many of those (populist) reactions have been very visceral.”

The ABA ordinarily does not file friend-of-the-court briefs at the trial level and indeed has done so only nine times in the past.

Similarly, Lamm told reporters today that the Justice Department generally refrains from weighing in at the trial level, but does so in extraordinary cases. The extraordinary nature of Arizona’s law is what prompted the ABA to speak up, she said.

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