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Immigration Federalism

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies, 2L at UCLA School of Law

My professor, Hiroshi Motomura, sat on the first panel and discussed constitutional dimensions, including preemption.

A few weeks ago,…

Photo by Evan Semon/Reuters

I had the fabulous opportunity to attend a conference on Immigration Federalism hosted by the University of Arizona in my hometown of Tucson. My professor, Hiroshi Motomura, sat on the first panel and discussed constitutional dimensions, including preemption. The second panel, on law enforcement and policing, featured a Captain of Tucson Police Department (TPD), discussing TPD’s lessening with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and their policy against racial profiling. The two attorneys on the panel pushed back against the Captain’s characterization of how TPD was not working with CBP, and the conversation was certainly lively.

After a break for lunch, the conversation continued to state and local government. The last panel was the most interesting and the most contested, for being at 3:30 in the afternoon. Although the panel was listed as DACA/DAPA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents), the discussion focused on issues of fundamental fairness. The Solicitor General (SG) of Arizona was on the panel and presented on the state’s lawsuit challenging the need to issue driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. He received a lot of pushback from the group for saying that he is personally fine with DACA as a policy but that it is unconstitutional and the state will continue to seek certiorari from the Supreme Court.

I flew home to attend this conference (and also to surprise my mom, which was awesome) and it was definitely worth it. It was a really great experience to hear updates in another state, especially a red state as opposed to California’s blueness.  It was also a great networking event, as folks from as far as Massachusetts were present. All in all, it was a great test of my immigration knowledge and learning opportunity.