Preliminary Injunction against ID Theft Law Vacated by 9th Circuit Appeals Court

A preliminary injunction granted by a U.S. District Judge in Arizona in connection with an identity theft law was vacated by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The findings of District Judge David G. Campbell held that the plaintiffs’ facial preemption claim had merit. The Appeals Court remanded the case, which was brought by an advocacy group for illegal aliens Puenta Arizona and several individuals against Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County and the county’s attorney Bill Montgomery. The group was challenging Arizona’s identity theft laws.

The ID theft laws prohibit using false identity to get a job, but Puente claims this is facially preempted by the federal government’s Reform and Control Act (IRCA).

The judicial panel at the Ninth Circuit found that some applications of the state’s ID theft laws may conflict with the comprehensive scheme of the IRCA or with the federal government’s exclusive discretion in regard to prosecutions of immigration matters, it also held that when laws are applied to citizens of the United states or to legal permanent residents, these concerns are not implicated.

Since the state’s employment-related identity theft laws were not preempted in all applications, the Ninth Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction of the lower court and reversed its decision that the preemption challenge brought by the plaintiff was likely to succeed on merit.

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