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College of Law professor recently featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution

July 22, 2011

M. Isabel Medina, the Ferris Family Distinguished Professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans’ College of Law, was recently quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution regarding immigration law.

The July 4 article, “States in limbo on illegal immigration,” examines the confusion and politics that are involved when states enact their own laws to deter undocumented immigration. A number of states, including Georgia, have passed a variety of measures, some of them going far beyond what federal statutes now provide, that make it illegal for persons to harbor, assist or employ undocumented persons.

Most of the measures, including parts of Arizona SB 1070 and the Georgia statute, have been struck down on the grounds that they are preempted by federal immigration laws. Generally, the federal government has primary and supreme responsibility under the Constitution for regulation of immigration, including undocumented immigrants. The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld an Arizona statute that suspended the licenses of businesses found to have employed undocumented persons, on the grounds that Congress had essentially approved such laws in the federal statute prohibiting employment of undocumented immigrants. Challenges to the state statutes are likely to reach the Supreme Court.

Medina is quoted in the article, “I wouldn’t want to call it.” She explained that the issues are complicated and some of the provisions raise fundamental rights or equality issues. She added that courts don’t get to those issues because the cases are decided under preemption doctrine. “The question,” said Medina, “is whether Congress has power to authorize states to take these kinds of measures.”

For more information, contact James Shields in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5888.

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