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Dec-24-2011 11:50printcomments

Legal Challenges to State Immigration Laws Mount

“This challenge is necessary to send a message to anti-immigrant groups that their efforts to pass Arizona-style legislation in the Midwest are not welcome and will be resisted” - Alonzo Rivas, MALDEF Midwest Regional Counsel

Capitol of Utah
Capitol of Utah - courtesy:

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) - Mexico has joined with 13 other Latin American nations in supporting Washington’s legal fight over the Utah immigration law. The countries have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case against HB 497, the state law passed earlier this year that empowers local police to investigate the immigration status of persons detained by officers. But Mexico and allied countries contend that the measure interferes with government-to-government relationships and creates multilateral tensions.

In addition to Mexico, the other nations signing on to the legal brief include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

Similar to the Arizona immigration law, the Utah law “dangerously contributes to a mosaic of laws that impede efficient and coherent diplomatic relations,” the Mexican government asserted. Federal judge Clark Waddoups has scheduled a hearing next February 17 that could determine whether to continue with the current suspension of the law, which the Obama Administration and civil rights organizations oppose as unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, other action on the immigration front happened this week when a pro-immigrant organization in Indiana took legal action against the state’s controversial immigration law. The East Chicago-based La Union Benefica Mexicana and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) filed a federal lawsuit challenging parts of the law as unconstitutional.

“This challenge is necessary to send a message to anti-immigrant groups that their efforts to pass Arizona-style legislation in the Midwest are not welcome and will be resisted,” Alonzo Rivas, MALDEF Midwest Regional Counsel, told the press. According to MALDEF, the bill “poses severe and immediate threats to the United States Constitution and to the livelihood of anyone who 'looks' to local authorities like an undocumented immigrant.”

The Indiana law was also earlier blocked by a federal judge after it was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center and private lawyers.

Indiana State Attorney General Greg Zoeller was quoted as saying he would attempt to delay action on the two lawsuits until the US Supreme Court rules on Arizona’s law later next year.

Sources:, December 22, 2011, Article by Michael Puente. El Diario de Juarez, La Jornada and Notimex. December 21 and 22, 2011.

Frontera NorteSur: on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Devolution December 27, 2011 1:04 pm (Pacific time)

How does one say, "Byte me hard in Macy's window," in Spanish?

Reverend Donoghue December 25, 2011 6:06 pm (Pacific time)

I am concerned that the message that the U.S. is a free-for-all vis-a-vis immigration has now gotten to India and China and we are now starting to see an influx of illegal immigrants from other nations as well.

The U.S. does not have the resources to take everyone who wants to come here. That would add a billion people pretty quickly. Why do we vilify the Mexicans and ignore the other nations' peoples? We have many Russians and Ukrainians around Salem and some of them, too, are here without proper documentation...

Tim, I agree, I wish we could "export" our criminals to another country like some friends and foes have done to us (and continue to do so - e.g. Cuba and Haiti...)

Tim King: Yes, they need a dose of medicine made from their country's  fruit of labor. 

Joel Wischkaemper December 25, 2011 4:01 pm (Pacific time)

It is very critical that a 40 names list of American Businesses, the Mexican Government, several nations in Latin America and more, are putting every penny they can into this fight. As long as the Federal Government won't stick up for us, they figure we will run out of money.
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Tim King: What kind of bigotry is this anyway Joel? I don't personally care about your particular comfort level, I grew up in a place that was almost completely Hispanic and have been watching this all take place for a long time.  As a rule these are the hardest working people most Americans will ever meet.  Thanks to the political actions of the USA Mexico is on the verge of being taken over by illegal drug cartels and if you think you have problems now, you haven't seen anything yet.  Just like Afghanistan and everywhere else, Americans are turning up a day late and a dollar short, we've really cooked our goose.  But in the end your race, the white race, is a terror race for the earth and DAMN the  settlers for killing off tens of millions of Native Americans, let nature take its course man, you can't do anything about it.  Oh, and yes I am white, but my race is the human race and I care about ALL people, not just the ones here.

Kevin December 25, 2011 5:29 am (Pacific time)

We are under no obligation to take in people that Mexico doesn't want. Guess what....we don't want them either. It's time the US Supreme Court take the issue up and determine what laws the states can actually enact to defend themselves.

Editor: I like Mexican people, heck, I'd trade them one for one for rednecks,  think about it.  We could bring cool Mexicans up to the U.S. and then we can take the bigots and give them to Mexico in trade.  Heck, I'd trade three for one, what a deal!

nomas December 24, 2011 3:32 pm (Pacific time)

Immigrants come in the front door, Criminal Aliens jump borders... HUGE difference!

Reverend Donoghue December 24, 2011 2:22 pm (Pacific time)

I recently visited Mexico and my immigration status was heavily scrutinized. I did not mind it, and had the appropriate paperwork. I do not understand why this is such a big issue.

AmandaBlack December 24, 2011 1:00 pm (Pacific time)

How is it possible for illegal immigrants to make demands on state and federal immigration laws??? Can I go abroad and demand my status be legalized, if I wanted to stay? CRAZY

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