Alablawg

Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Attn: City of Hoover

And Judge Cahill. From the Seventh Circuit today (hat tip Decision of the Day):

States do not have the power to banish people from the United States. “[T]he regulation of aliens is so intimately blended and intertwined with responsibilities of the national government that where it acts, and the state also acts on the same subject, ‘the act of Congress, or the treaty, is supreme; and the law of the State, though enacted in the exercise of powers not controverted, must yield to it.’ ” Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52, 66-67 (1941).

Congress has acted, specifying in great detail the grounds on which aliens are permitted or forbidden to remain in the United States. Congress could permit those grounds to vary from state to state, but it would be unlikely to do so (and it has not done so), because this would empower the states to determine matters that are at the heart of the federal immigration laws. “[O]ver no conceivable subject is the legislative power of Congress more complete than it is over the admission of aliens” Fiallo v. Bell, 430 U.S. 787, 792 (1977); see Gerbier v. Holmes, supra, 280 F.3d at 312.