The debate over the issue of immigration has been raging for years now, culminating in a nationwide demand for general immigration law reform-with states attempting to take matters into their own hands by passing immigration enforcement laws. For the most part, these forays into immigration legislation by states have been struck down by the United States Supreme Court. However, as immigration reform looms in the future of Congressional action, open questions still remain as to what avenues states have left to participate in immigration regulation. This Comment will attempt to answer those questions by analyzing the development of immigration law and how the recent Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. United States is currently being applied.
Specifically, this Comment will answer the question of what power, if any, remains for the states to regulate immigrants within their own borders. First, Part II looks at the history of cases regarding immigration regulation, focusing on the preemption doctrine and its application to immigration. Part III follows the creation of the plenary-power doctrine by the Supreme Court and how Congress subsequently developed immigration law. Part IV begins by reviewing Arizona, then analyzing how Arizona has since been applied in two recent cases from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Part V speculates what impact a recent decision concerning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) may have on immigration. Part VI looks at what avenues states still have to regulate immigrants without conflicting with federal law. Finally, to show the importance of not only passing reform, but passing the right kind of reform, Part VII looks at the vast impact some of the harshest self-deportation legislation had on Alabama.
Galloway, Benjamin D.
"Perpetual Congressional Inaction: State Regulation of Immigration in Response to Lack of Reform,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 65:
3, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol65/iss3/10