UPDATED, 3:30 p.m., with comments from Minnick.
A state-by-state solution is not the "ultimate solution" to the immigration problem, says Rep. Mike Simpson.
Nonetheless, the Idaho Republican is siding with Arizona in its court battle with the U.S. Justice Department. He is writing a court brief siding with the state — and its strict immigration law.
“The Arizona situation is an example of what happens when the federal government fails to secure our borders or address illegal immigration,” Simpson said today.
Here is his full news release:
Congressman Mike Simpson has signed an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court” brief, in support of the state of Arizona, which has been sued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The suit challenges the state’s strict new immigration law, SB 1070, which helps law enforcement more effectively implement federal immigration laws.
“The federal government focus on coming up with real solutions to our nation’s immigration problems rather than suing states that have been forced into impossible positions because of the federal government’s inaction,” said Simpson. “The Arizona situation is an example of what happens when the federal government fails to secure our borders or address illegal immigration.”
The amicus brief contends that the DOJ is mistaken in claiming that Arizona law illegally conflicts with and preempts federal law. Instead, the brief states that Congress, not the executive branch, that has authority to prescribe immigration laws. It also identifies numerous statutes demonstrating that Congress has encouraged state immigration enforcement in the past, with the DOJ recognizing that right.
“While a state-by-state approach to border security or immigration enforcement is not the ultimate solution, Arizonans are the front line of our immigration emergency, and the federal government must show the American people that they are serious about solving the problem. This is a wakeup call.” Simpson added, “I also question the decision of the DOJ to sue Arizona while continuing to allow cities to declare themselves ‘sanctuary cities’ for illegal aliens in clear defiance of federal law.”
The U.S. District Court in Phoenix is likely to rule on this case before SB 1070 goes into effect at the end of the month.
Rep. Walt Minnick also has criticized the Justice Department lawsuit.
"The administration should spend energy and resources to solve the illegal immigration problem rather than to litigate against Arizona," Minnick, D-Idaho, told Idaho Reporter.com earlier this month. "This is yet another reminder of the need for our country to tackle the issue in a serious, sensible, bipartisan way."