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South Dakota Joins Other States in Support of State Joint Authority Over Immigration Enforcement

Pierre, SD - Gov. Mike Rounds and Attorney General Marty J. Jackley announced today that South Dakota has joined with other states in support of state governments' joint authority over immigration enforcement.

Last week, United States Attorney General Eric Holder filed a lawsuit on behalf of the federal government, challenging Arizona law governing state immigration enforcement. South Dakota will join several other states in the capacity of amicus curiae, or friend of the court - not as a party defendant.

The State of Michigan has taken the lead role of the amicus states, and it is anticipated that South Dakota will not bear any costs associated with its supportive and advisory role.

Like Arizona, every state has the power to concurrently enforce federal immigration law, provided that states do not create new categories of aliens or attempt to independently determine the immigration status of aliens, according to the amicus filing.

The Arizona law does not create a new class of aliens different from those currently defined by federal law, and it does not impose new or additional restrictions on legal immigrants, the amicus points out. It adds that the Arizona statute simply exercises the authority delegated to the states by Congress to jointly enforce existing federal immigration law.

"This is a highly-publicized and important legal issue that must be settled," Gov. Rounds said. "Simply put, states should be allowed to enforce federal immigration law." 

Attorney General Jackley states, "South Dakota presently enjoys and will strive to continue our tradtion of cooperative immigration enforcement with our local federal law enforcement partners. The federal government's national decision to engage in selective enforcement of federal law and to enter into litigation with Arizona unnecessarily abandons cooperative efforts on immigration enforcement at the cost of public safety."