CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Medina on State Criminal Law and Immigration-Related Activity

M. Isabel Medina (Loyola University New Orleans - School of Law) has posted Symposium on Federalism at Work: State Criminal Law, Noncitizens and Immigration Related Activity - An Introduction on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Over the course of the last few decades states have become much more aggressive about undertaking state regulation of undocumented migration. To some extent, states have pursued these efforts because of the perception that the federal government has not done enough to discourage or prevent undocumented migration. The federal government, however, since the early 1990s, has been devoting greater resources and attention to addressing the problem of undocumented migration.

Notwithstanding the federal focus on immigration enforcement, in the past decade, states have sought to play a more active role in immigration enforcement and, in particular, in deterring or punishing undocumented or unauthorized migration. To some extent, federal immigration law facilitates cooperative state initiatives in law enforcement undertaken under federal supervision. Many state legislatures or municipalities unsatisfied with federal efforts, however, have gone further and enacted statutes that regulate immigration related activities or the status of being an undocumented or unauthorized non-citizen. One example is the ordinance adopted by the City of Hazleton, which among other things prohibited landlords from knowingly letting, leasing or renting a dwelling unit to an "illegal alien" and prohibited employment of undocumented aliens. Courts have enjoined the ordinance as preempted by federal law.

More recently, states have enacted statutes that impose criminal sanctions on a variety of immigration related activity. Perhaps the most famous of these initiatives is Arizona’s SB 1070. A similar bill was introduced before the Louisiana legislature recently. That bill was unsuccessful but "at least one Louisiana legislator has promised to introduce a similar statute for adoption in Louisiana."

This symposium at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law examined the role that state criminal law has or should have in the context of immigration, immigration related activities and unauthorized or undocumented migration.

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