Deportation – A Thing of the Past?

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.”

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9 responses to “Deportation – A Thing of the Past?

  1. Are you unhappy with that part of the constitution under which this issue rests? Our current court tends to be very non-activist and rather strict constructionist. They must believe that this particular power in our constitution is clearly reserved for the federal government and NOT the states. I believe I’m right in saying the majority of these justices were appointed by Republican presidents.

    I’d be interested in seeing research on whether illegal aliens pay taxes or not. And if some do, how many and how much?

    “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” may be overstating the case. “We will not be issuing detainers on individuals unless they clearly meet our defined priorities.” is what they said. It appears their ‘defined priorities’ in enforcement is what does not please you.

    Consider again……

    • The opinion doesn’t actually refer to the Constitution too much, because the Constitution does not grant Congress or the federal government authority to control immigration. In fact, it leaves that power to states.

      Historically, states were the ones made immigration laws for about 100 years after the adoption of the Constitution. There was no controversy about that. The federal government actually ran into MANY legal issues when they first tried. What’s surprising is that now, primary responsibility for immigration has shifted to the federal government. But you can’t claim it’s constitutionally reserved for the federal government, because it was actually the opposite.

      The federal government’s first real immigration law was in 1862. (Unless you count the Alien Act, which faced heavy criticism from Jefferson and Madison and expired after only 2 years.)

      And their “defined priorities” of not answering calls from Arizona unless the subject has committed a felony don’t please me, because they’re not the “defined priorities” that were in the law voted on by democratically elected members of Congress.

      • My views are probably contrary to yours in this case. I wrote them when the Arizona first passed the law:
        https://funnyphuppo.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/immigration-policies-arizona-the-us-and-switzerland/
        Whether you agree with those views or not, you must admit it was unthinkable that a person could spend a night in jail just for not having an ID on him. Don’t forget if it was crime for an alien not carry an alien registration with them, then it was also a crime for a US citizen since unless he carried a proof citizenship, he could be arrested.
        I personally would reject section 3 and 6 of the law, but would keep section 5. After all, what people really care for are the jobs.

        • I checked out your post – the biggest thing to me is the fact that showing “humanity” isn’t always a good thing in and of itself. Although I do think it should absolutely be important to care for those around us, we do also need to realize rational constraints – that we can’t care for everyone for free without running ourselves out of money. So where do you draw the line is the question? (as it is on almost every political question)

          Either way, it was a good post – I enjoyed it a lot. Thank you!

    • As for whether they pay income taxes, there are some who do. One estimate I read suggests 1.4 million (out of anywhere from 12-20 million illegals). But again, most of it is big estimation.

      Nobody really knows who’s illegal and how much they’re paying. (And it’s difficult to calculate how much of sales tax, property tax, etc. is paid by illegals)

  2. im still trying to figure out if these aliens are even going to have to pay any taxes.
    cause in theory, if they don’t, hourly, they make more than every american citizen.

    • That’s a good point. Because “suspending deportations” means they also continue to enjoy benefits such as police protection, emergency care, etc. without paying for them.

    • Illegal immigrants often pay taxes. Even if they didn’t, it would be ridiculous to say that ‘they make more than every american citizen.’ Illegal immigrants’ incomes are far, far below the average American income. This is because, while the benefit from ‘police protection, emergency care, etc,’ they do not benefit from some of the less visable benefits of American citizens such as access to education, networking, lifestyle, and majoritarian bias. Besides, several sectors of our economy would be wrecked without their cheap, consistent labor.

      • “Besides, several sectors of our economy would be wrecked without their cheap, consistent labor.”
        That’s a good point. So do you think we should get rid of the minimum wage for legal immigrants/citizens in order to promote competition and efficiency?

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