NEW: State Senator Signs on to Support Arizona Immigration Law

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Sen. Marc A. Cote has signed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the State of Arizona in its defense of its law to combat illegal immigration in that state.

The “friend of the court” brief, signed by Senator Cote and 28 other members of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), argues that Arizona’s SB 1070 should not be preempted by federal law, and an appeals court decision reversing it should be overturned.

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The signers – SLLI members from 20 states – argue that Arizona is not overstepping its authority by trying to change immigration law, which rightly belongs to the federal government, but that individual states are allowed to legislate within their borders to require that its officers and divisions cooperate and communicate with the federal government and to discourage those who are in violation of federal law from entering or remaining in Arizona.

“Plainly and simply, a state requiring its officers and municipalities to cooperate with the federal government should not be against federal law. That doesn’t make any sense,” said Senator Cote (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield). “Arizona is trying to address a serious problem that is taking a toll on that state, and I have to agree that SB 1070 is an effort to address the fact that the federal government isn’t doing enough to enforce its immigration laws throughout this country.”

Arizona’s law, known as SB 1070, makes it a state misdemeanor for non- U.S. citizens to be in Arizona without carrying their documentation on them, and requires local and state law enforcement officers to try to determine immigration status when given reason to believe a person they detain for other violations of state law - might be in the country illegally.

The amicus brief highlights the importance of dual sovereignty between the states and the federal government, including:

  • Reiterating the principles of federalism and the concept that states created the federal government and not vice versa;
  • The right of individual states to authorize state and local law enforcement officers to cooperate and communicate with the federal government regarding the enforcement of federal immigration law;
  • The right of individual states to end the economic incentives that draw illegal aliens within their borders: stolen jobs, stolen benefits and stolen citizenship.

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