IRLI submitted a friend-of-the-court brief (attached here) in a lawsuit brought by the open-borders special interest group Utah Coalition of La Raza (“the race”) and others challenging as unconstitutional Utah’s House Bill 497 which authorized state and local police to verify a person’s identity and immigration status during a lawful stop. La Raza argued that the law was preempted by prosecutorial discretion memoranda issued by officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that prioritize removals from the United States.
In its brief, IRLI argued that the policies in the agency memoranda conflict with federal statutes that mandate specific DHS and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) immigration control duties and circumscribe agency discretion. Also, DHS’s interest in managing resources has no preemptive effect where Congress has established priorities and mandates for DHS enforcement of immigration control laws. IRLI also argued that the agency memoranda lack the force of law and are not entitled to Chevron deference. Finally, IRLI argued that an injunction against the state law was improper because La Raza had not met its burden of showing that all applications of the state law were unconstitutional.
On June 18, 2014, the Utah District Court issued an opinion upholding some provisions of the law, including the stop, detain, and arrest provision and the anti-sanctuary provision, while finding other provisions preempted by federal law.
Utah District Court Upholds Key Enforcement Provisions in HB 497, June 18, 2014
IRLI Files Amicus Brief in Utah Describing Abuse of Prosecutorial Discretion by Feds in HB 497 Preemption Case, January 26, 2012