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Supreme Court rejects hearing local immigration appeals

Florida is frequently the destination for people immigrating to the United States, and residents may be interested in the news that the U.S. Supreme Court turned down requests for appeals from two towns that had written immigration laws that were overruled by federal laws. Farmers Branch, Texas, and Hazleton, Pennsylvania, had hoped to argue their positions and have the appeals court rulings overturned. It was in 2012 when the Supreme Court heard its last major immigration case.

Reform appears to be stalled in Congress, and local governments think that the existing federal laws do not do enough to control immigration. The towns in question had written laws that required property owners and employers to obtain proof of legal immigration status and penalized those who did not obtain proof. In addition, a tenant could be arrested and fined for failing to produce the proper documents.

While a Nebraska town's immigration laws were partially upheld in 2013 due to the fact that they did not penalize illegal immigrants but only employers, property owners, workers, employers and tenants all challenged the Texas and Pennsylvania laws in court and won. Advocates pointed out that such laws conflict with the right of the federal government to have the primary responsibility of enforcing immigration laws.

When a person is facing deportation or has questions about his or her immigration status, an attorney may be able to provide guidance about the federal laws and requirements. As this article points out, it is usually only federal laws that apply to an immigrant's status. If a local jurisdiction or employer attempts to impose residency requirements that are in violation of federal law, the attorney may be able to assist an immigrant in maintaining housing and employment.

Source: Reuters, "U.S. Supreme Court declines immigration cases", Lawrence Hurley, March 03, 2014

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