President Barack Obama’s sudden executive order last week temporarily suspending deportations for an estimated 800,000 immigrants has been revealed as the tip of the iceberg. Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced that it would strike down three of the four provisions of Arizona’s tough immigration law. The only provision remaining (Section 2(b)), allows Arizona to require officers to check immigration status of those they have already lawfully detained. However, the remaining three sections were struck down:
Section 3: Makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to not carry alien registration documentation.
Section 5(c): Makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to apply for, solicit, or do work in Arizona.
Section 6: Officers can arrest illegal immigrants even if they’re not committing a crime.
Because of this, officers can follow Section 2b and “check immigration status” – except they are powerless to actually take any action after finding out the person is an illegal.
By striking down these provisions, the justices asserted that the federal government has responsibility for enforcing the immigration laws, and therefore states do not have the right to develop their own policies. Writing for the majority, Kennedy is quoted saying,
“Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”
The problem is, the federal government is continuing to show that it also wants to pursue policies that undermine federal law. Besides the executive order suspending deportations for “DREAMers”, Obama’s Department of Homeland Security announced (conveniently on the same day as the ruling) that they would suspend their immigration agreements with Arizona. This means they would no longer allow state or local authorities to enforce immigration laws. The Obama Administration also issued a directive to federal officials instructing them to decline many of the calls from Arizona about immigration. Says one official,
“We will not be issuing detainers on individuals unless they clearly meet our defined priorities.”
Not only is the federal government refusing to allow states to enforce the laws, they are now refusing to allow themselves to enforce the laws as well.
If you want to change the immigration laws to allow amnesty, then change the laws. But if Congress and the American people do not vote to change the laws, then you shouldn’t “take matters into your own hands” and push your policies anyway, disregarding all existing law. Arguing for amnesty is much more respectable than what our administration is doing now. At least you’re allowing debate and democratic process, rather than ignoring the laws that are politically inconvenient during an election year. Condoleezza Rice says it best,
“Americans who come here from other places to be a part of that belief that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things, which is why we need an immigration policy that works. But, by the way, we need one that the Congress and the president work out together.”