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In Farmers Branch, Texas, the city council enacted a measure to fine landlords who rent their premises to unauthorized migrants, and in Arizona, the state legislature passed a law imposing stiff penalties on employers who intentionally or knowingly hire unauthorized migrants. In San Francisco, the board of supervisors passed a measure that bars law enforcement officers from inquiring into the immigration status of an individual in the course of a criminal investigation. In Alabama and Florida, state officials have entered into agreements with the federal government permitting state law enforcement officers to arrest and detain non-citizens on immigration charges. Other examples of non-federal involvement in immigration abound. Although these efforts vary in type and political orientation, increased state and local involvement in immigration – often referred to as "immigration federalism" – is one of the most important developments in immigration policy.

The legality and propriety of immigration federalism has sparked a vigorous debate among legal scholars. The vast majority of scholars decry it. Some scholars express concern that state and local governments are more likely to engage in discrimination against noncitizens. Others fear that giving state and local law enforcement officers a role in the enforcement of federal immigration law will discourage non-citizens from reporting crimes and encourage racial profiling. On the other side of the debate, some scholars welcome the assistance of state and local officers as the "quintessential force multiplier," noting benefits for national security and enforcement of immigration law generally. Finally, other scholars acknowledge the inevitability of immigration federalism and find a potential silver lining.


Immigration Law | Law


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