Monday, November 4, 2013

LA Supreme Court Holds that State Immigration Law Preempted

On October 15, the Louisiana Supreme Court in State v. Sarrabea addressed th econstitutionality of a provision of a series of state laws under the title “Prevention of Terrorism on the Highways.” 2002 La. Acts, 1st Ex. Sess. 46, § 1. Among other stated aims, the purpose of the enactment was “to make operating a motor vehicle in this state when not lawfully present in the United States a crime.”  The statute proscribes the operation of a motor vehicle by an alien student or nonresident alien who does not possess documentation demonstrating lawful presence in the United States. Following a no contest plea to the charge of violating La. R.S. 14:100.13, in which he reserved the right to appeal the claim that the statute is preempted by federal law, the defendant appealed his conviction. The Louisiana Supreme Court  Court held that the Louisiana law is preempted by federal law:  "After review of the relevant law, both statutory and jurisprudential, and despite its laudable goal aimed at preventing acts of terrorism, we are constrained to find, based on the Supreme Court case of Arizona v. United States, 132 S.Ct. 2492 (2012), that La. R.S. 14:100.13 operates in the field of alien registration and is, therefore, preempted by federal law under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution."   Download Sarrabea

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