Posted: Feb 8, 2013 9:51 AM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
Updated: Feb 12, 2013 7:57 AM
HELENA - LR-121, which was passed by Montana voters in November, is being challenged over its constitutionality in court.
It prohibits state agencies from providing services to people who are not U.S. citizens or who have unlawfully entered the country.
The Montana Immigrants Justice Alliance filed suit and is asking the first judicial court to place an injunction on the new law which went into effect in January.
They say it goes too far in its burden of proof and could harm applicants. But the state says the law is only meant to rightfully deny services to illegal immigrants.
"The state has not provided any information and says it doesn't have any about how much illegal aliens cost the state of Montana. They have no information so this law is probably to combat a non-existent harm," Brian Miller, Montana Immigrants Justice Alliance attorney, said.
"The plaintiffs don't really dispute that it's legitimate for the state to make as one of the eligibility criteria that you have to be a U.S. citizen or an eligible alien. They don't dispute that. Their dispute here is maybe the method that they think the state is using to determine that," attorney Lawrence Van Dyke countered.
The law also requires agencies to notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security if non-citizens apply with an unlawful status. Judge Sherlock will render a decision at a later date.