Kansas v. Garcia

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: March 18, 2019
  • Case #: 17-834
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 401 P.3d 588 (Kan. 2017); 401 P.3d 155 (Kan. 2017); 401 P.3d 159 (Kan. 2017).
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the Immigration Reform and Control Act preempts and bars the use of identifying information contained in I-9 forms that also appears in non-IRCA documents to prosecute state law crimes.

The State of Kansas charged Respondents with identity theft for using the social security numbers of other people on several documents, including I-9 forms. Respondents argued on appeal that the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) preempted the State from using information contained in I-9 forms to prove identity theft, even where such information appeared in independent documents. The Kansas Court of Appeals rejected Respondents’ argument. However, the Kansas Supreme Court reversed, holding that the IRCA preempts state identity theft statutes when the information necessary for prosecution exists in an I-9 form. The State argues that this decision conflicts with every other decision considering express preemption under the IRCA and the views of the United States Department of Justice, which filed amicus briefs in some of these cases rejecting the notion that the IRCA would preempt state law in this context. The State also argues that the court misread the IRCA and its express preemption clause, where a more natural reading would limit use of the I-9 form itself, not the information contained within. Finally, the State notes that the federal government lacks the resources to combat the worldwide problem of identity crime alone, making state law a necessary means of protecting the public that should not be obstructed by broad readings of federal laws.

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