Friday, March 28, 2008

Nevada AG Opines that State Immigration Bill Preempted by Federal Law

The Nevada Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto, has issued an opinion that a proposed  immigration bill would be premepted by federal law:

"IRCA preempts state laws imposing civil or criminal sanctions, but does not preempt "licensing or similar laws." The "administrative fine" imposed by [Nevada] A.B. 383 is a "civil sanction" which is both expressly and impliedly preempted by federal law. It is not a licensing or "fitness to do business" law because the Tax Commission has no other authority to act against an employer's business license for immigration-related matters. Therefore, it is an attempt to impose an additional state sanction on certain businesses that violate the federal law, which is expressly preempted. A.B. 383 also conflicts with the comprehensive federal scheme, which already sets maximum monetary sanctions for violations of IRCA."


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The attorney general refers to the Supremacy Clause, but that clause can only logically pertain to those powers unambiguously delegated by the Consitution to the federal government. To interpret the clause otherwise is to deny states any rights at all, as they would always be in jeopardy of pre-emption by enaction of superceding federal law. There would virtually be no facet of life in this country that could not be centrally managed by the federal government, and who would want that?

Posted by: Horace | Mar 28, 2008 6:07:19 PM

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