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The Arizona Immigration Law Countersuit

Current federal law has provisions regarding documentation legal residents must carry with them. The federal government recently sued the state of Arizona, trying to strike down Arizona’s law empowering state police, in the course of enforcing other laws, to verify the immigration status of persons they reasonably believe to be in the country illegally. Arizona has countersued the federal government. Does Arizona have solid constitutional grounds for its countersuit?


Questions to consider

1. Why did the federal government challenge Arizona’s immigration law?

2. What five duties does Arizona’s countersuit argue the federal government has failed to carry out?

3. The powers of the federal government and the state governments are defined in the Constitution. Name one power only granted to the federal government. Name one power strictly reserved for state governments. Are there powers that overlap? If so, which ones?

4. In Article I, Section 8, the Constitution says:
“The Congress shall have power… to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States…To establish a uniform rule of naturalization…To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions”

And in Article IV, Section 4, it states:
“The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.”

Which level of government do these Articles of the Constitution assert is responsible for protecting the states against “invasion”?

5. Arizona argues in its counterclaim that “The United States Constitution, Article 4, Section 4, requires the United States to protect Arizona against invasion and domestic violence. The word ‘invasion’ does not necessarily mean invasion of one country by another, but can mean large numbers of illegal immigrants from various countries.” How would you respond to this argument?