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Lawsuit Filed over State Treatment Of Illegal Immigrants

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 01, 2009 10:00 AM

The Arizona Republic recently reported that a lawsuit filed against the state or Arizona claims that the state treatment of illegal immigrants is an unconstitutional policy that affects local development practices. It also claims it affects how cities enforce requirements to receive government benefits.

The lawsuit was filed by 90 municipalities that claim that state treatment of illegal immigrants could open the municipalities up for lawsuits if they acccidentally provide a public benefit to illegal immigrants. Public benefits can range from granting a library card all the way to using a city street or sidewalk. I am pretty sure all people (illegal or not) use city sidewalks.

The lawsuit was filed by the municipalities because they lobbied against the provision, but it still passed anyhow.

The municipalities claim that the provision was snuck into a budget bill during a special session. This would violate the state Constitution's single subject rule.

The Governor of Arizona responded to the lawsuit by claiming that it would ultimately pander to illegal immigrants. She was quoted by The Arizona Republic as saying, "Our policy will be to prevent benefits to illegal immigrants."

This is not a surprising stance for the Governor to make. Arizona and its residents have had a longstanding reputation for cracking down on illegal immigrants.

Just back in February, an Arizona rancher was sued over holding a group of illegal immigrants at gunpoint. We blogged about it in Common Law here.

The New York Times published a story back in 2006 about an Arizona county that used civilian posses who would round up illegal immigrants. The article also detailed how a nine-month-old state law that made smuggling people a felony actually authorized local police forces to enforce immigration law.

While it seems that this lawsuit falls in line with Arizona's typical stance on illegal immigrants, let's hope that the cities fighting this provision ultimately prevail. All people should be allowed some public benefits and not open cities up to major liabilities because of it.

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