Sen. Charles Schumer promises action on Arizona immigration law

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WASHINGTON -- On the eve of the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Arizona immigration law, a top Democrat vowed to take congressional action if the high court upholds the state’s tough-on-immigration statute.

The proposal from Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) would surely extend the immigration debate and touch off a states’ rights fight with strong opinions on either side. Should the court uphold Arizona’s SB 1070, Schumer said his proposal would prohibit states from enacting or enforcing their own immigration law penalties unless they are working in concert with the federal government.

“I believe it is simply too damaging to our economy, and too dangerous to our democracy, to have 50 different states doing 50 different things with regard to immigration policy,” Schumer said during opening remarks at a hearing Tuesday.


The Arizona law would allow the state’s law enforcement agencies to check the legal status of those suspected of being in the country illegally.

Supporters of the Arizona approach have said the state is simply stepping up where the federal government has lagged.

“The Constitution gives Congress the authority and responsibility to establish a uniform immigration policy for the nation,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “If Congress does not preempt states from enacting their own immigration laws, they can assist with federal enforcement and pass laws that are not inconsistent with federal law. That’s precisely what Arizona has done.”

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