Arizona Prop 200 - No bennies to illegal aliens

Arizona’s Proposition 200, which would require the state to verify the legal immigration status of residents that wish to receive state benefits such as subsidized housing, food stamps, and the like.

Despite the fact that this is the will of the people of Arizona, a federal ujdge is (at least temporarily enjoining the state from enforcing it.

Should the people of Arizona be able to limit their states’ benefits to legal immigrants only?


“This court finds itself in an extremely undesirable position,” Judge Bury said in his original order. “On the one hand, a majority of Arizona voters cast their ballots in favor of Proposition 200, and this court is loath to disregard their decision. On the other hand, this court is obligated to uphold the Constitution of the United States, even when to do so stands in opposition to popular opinion.”
Judge Bury, appointed by President Bush in 2001, said the lawsuit raised “serious questions” on whether Proposition 200 was pre-empted by federal law and whether it was constitutional.
“Additionally,” he said, "the balance of hardships tips sharply in favor of plaintiffs. It seems likely that if Proposition 200 were to become law, it would have a dramatic chilling effect upon undocumented aliens who would otherwise be eligible for public benefits under federal law.
“For instance, an undocumented alien who is eligible for public benefits might refrain from availing himself of those benefits out of fear of the implications of Proposition 200,” he said.
Judge Bury noted in the order, however, that his granting of the restraining order merely delayed implementation of the initiative and should not be “construed in any way as a comment on the merits or legality” of the proposition.

For me, blocking something temporarily while you determine if it is unconstitutional or pre-empting federal law does not seem unreasonable. After all, if the 80% or whatever of Christians in the country wanted to send all children to Christian schools I’d hope a judge would block that from being enforced. If it is ruled against, we can change the constitution or Federal law if we want something like this that badly. The article in unclear about the argument regarding federal law or the constitution though; what’s the basis for challenge? If it’s not a reasonable argument I would say it shouldn’t be blocked, we can’t put laws on hold for every challenge. But generally lawyers and judges are reasonable sorts and don’t pull stuff completely out of their ass. :slight_smile:

bennies??? what is that, like accountant slang for benefits??

The article doesn’t say why the judge thought the proposition might be unconstitutional. It would be a lot easier to figure this one out if we knew his arguement.

But as for the delay, that makes perfect sense. I’d rather the gov’t err on the side of not messing with the constitution until they’re sure they’re in the clear. Also, in a practical sense, it will give illegals a longer period to adjust their lifestyles to the possible change. I’m sure the people of AZ can deal with their will being put on hold for a few months to make sure everything checks out.

There has to be some limits to denying people – even illegal immigrants – access to public services. I do not think denying children an education or anyone an emergency medical service is reasonable at all. OTOH, I don’t see why welfare and other compensation can reasonably be claimed by someone who is in the country illegally, and, in all probability, does not pay taxes.

But I really need to know more about Prop 200.

Oh yeah, and I hate legislating through ballot propisitions. It’s a process that features the worst aspects of democracy; particularly because the people are voting on issues, rather than the nuts and bolts of a specific proposal.

From Border

OK, it’s a biased stat…but I don’t see anyone from the pro-illegal immigrant (read: line cutter) lobby citing smaller figures.

I don’t think the question is, “Is it reasonable?”

I think the question is, “Is it CONSTITUTIONAL?”

OK, help me out here folks , 'cause this is an issue I’ve never understood. Don’t we *deport * illegal aliens when we find them?

What are the Constitutional rights of a trespasser?

ISTM that an illegal alien is in the process of committing a crime. People shouldn’t benefit from their own misdeeds. Thus, it would seem this ballot initiiative is legit.

Which clause of the Constitution is cited in alleging that illegal aliens should be provided public services like education and health care?


Slightly off topic, but what the hell? When did the Ninth adopt the “modified likelihood of success” standard? I thought they still operated under the “substantial likelihood” that’s in the Rules of Civil Procedure. I’m right that it’s a four-part “and” test, not an “or” test, aren’t I? I knew some other circuits had applied likelihood expansively, and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the Ninth has gone along, but I wasn’t aware of it previously. I’m certainly not aware of a Judge explicitly stating that he all but ignored the standard.

Mostly, yes. But some states have adopted policies that amount to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” If a kid shows up in your school district, he’s presumed to be there legally and no one asks or is even allowed to ask. That sort of thing.

OK, that would explain how their kids get to go to school but not “state benefits such as subsidized housing, food stamps, and the like” that was mentioned in the OP. Surely you have to prove who you are and that you’re legally entitled to whatever benefits you’re asking for.

Nope. Our laws against illegal immigration are mostly toothless. They rarely bother unless the illegal immigrant has committed another crime besides illegal immigration.

Can’t answer for Arizona, but in New York it’s much like Blalron described for Oregon. I think it’s tricky to get a driver’s license or more advanced licenses (vendor, hunting, nursing, etc.) but for welfare and welfare-like programs not so much.

There is nothing unconstitutional about Prop 200, just as there was nothing unconstitutional about California’s Prop 187. But Prop 187 got nullified anyway, by the same bunch that is now going after 200. How?

They knew that the voters had already approved of prohibiting government benefits to illegal aliens and that this had little chance of being overturned in court. They needed a miracle to stop 187.

First, they filed some lawsuits against it. By the time the suits went to court, a Democratic governor (Gray Davis) had replaced the Republican governor (Pete Wilson). Wilson had revived his flagging campaign in 1994 by endorsing 187 (which after all was favored 3 to 2 by the voters), but could not run for reelection in 1998 due to term limits. Davis then defeated a weak Republican opponent.

When the case went to court, instead of defending the state law, Davis agreed to mediation. He then prevented opponents of 187 from participating in the mediation, and when the state lost (surprise), he declined to appeal, and 187 was dead.

So it may not matter whether Prop 200 is constitutional, or whether it has the will of the people behind it. 187 had both those things and still got nullified.

The major difference is this time, there’s a Republican governor in California. Davis and his Mexican supremacist sidekick Cruz Bustamante got their butts handed to them in the recall because they stupidly voted to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, even though Californians were overwhelmingly against it.

So why do we ignore the immigration laws? Is it because illegal aliens are such a boon to the economy - even when receiving benefits - that we’re better off with them here?

IIRC, in TX, illegals and legal non-citizens don’t qualify for TX DHS benefits.

Without going into a huge debate on what we should do with people in the U.S. illegally, I see one huge obstacle to implementing a law like this: people in charge of administering public benefits don’t understand how immigration works. One common example is driver’s licensing:I deal with it all the time on behalf of clients and their dependents. The people I deal with at my job are foreign nationals who are in the U.S. legally, either on work visas or as dependents of people here on work visas, and they hhave a hard time doing basic everyday things like getting driver’s licenses.

One example of many: New Jersey, when issuing a driver’s license to someone who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, will only issue it to the final validity date of their current authorized period of stay. However, if one files an extension application, one is allowed to remain in the U.S. (and to work, if the immigration status is one that includes employment authorization) for another 180 days while the extension is being processed. USCIS (the Agency Formerly Known as INS) even issues a handy receipt notice with the current estimated processing time for the extension application.

The DMV in NJ, or whatever they are called, doesn’t care, however. They won’t accept the receipt notice as proof of maintenance of legal status, even by doing something as seemingly sensible as extending the driver’s license by the estimated adjudication period. No approval notice, no new license. So people who don’t have public transit as an option, particularly if they need to drive to work or as part of their job duties, are put in the position of driving without a valid license, or of not being able to work. Which, if they are here on a work visa, could potentially be considered a violation of their immigration status.

We can’t even get the people whose job it is to understand immigraiton laws to know what they are talking about half the time, so now we are supposed to get government bureaucrats in all sorts of unrelated fields to understand immigration laws? Not to mention innocent bystanders like emergency services employees?

Eva Luna, Immigration Paralegal

Pretty much. Most immigrants- legal or not- are very family oriented people who are here to WORK and make a better life for their kids…pretty much the American dream. They form a pretty essential part of our economy that really can’t just be removed at this point. The big drawbacks is that the undocumented workers lose some protections that legal workers get and the government loses some money in social services (although not so much in taxes- illegal immigrants largely
pay their taxes). Even with these problems, both sides of the equation come out ahead.

These laws are not designed to stop illegal immigration. It’s too important a part of the economy to do that. People will still come even if there are no benefits- in Mexico there are no benefits and no work. America is still a better place to be. These laws are just an attempt to have our cake and eat it, too. We want all the benefits of illegal immigration without having to pony up even the relatively small costs.

I grew up in a town of immigrants. Many of my friends were children who came here- through no act of their own- at a young age. I remember my eight grade classmates bursting in to tears when prop 187 passed, wondering who among us was going to get kicked out of school. These children never did anything wrong. They had no choice. They had no place in their home country, and now they faced having no place here. Most of their parents probably wouldn’t have turned back. The kids would have just had to find a life without things like education and healthcare. And we all know the best ways to make money without an education…especially if your branded as a “criminal” from the age of three because of something your parents did…

Eva Luna,

Do you know if illegal aliens can recieve any type of Federal Social Security benefits?

I’m sure they pay their sales and gas taxes - anything that’s collected at the cash register, but what about income taxes and all that other stuff that normally comes out of your paycheck? How would that even work?