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- 05-01-2012, 12:20 PM #1
EDITORIAL Our immigration law might survive
Our immigration law might survive
Monday, April 30, 2012 - 8:46 am
If we can't protect our borders, what does sovereignty mean?
Hoosier lawmakers were nervously watching as Arizona’s tough law on illegal immigration wound its way to the Supreme Court. Our law is just as tough, and if Arizona’s law goes down, ours probably does, too. Conventional wisdom has had it that Arizona went much too far, in the process demonizing all immigrants in a nasty, nativist way.
But there is a new optimism now in the wake of pointed questioning of the Obama administration by the justices in oral arguments. Even such liberal stalwarts as Sonia Sotomayor were obviously struggling to understand the administration’s incoherent reasoning in opposing Arizona’s attempt to “co-opt a federal prerogative.”
Chief Justice John Roberts, reports the Politico website, seemed baffled by the administration’s arguments that Arizona “can’t make police there check immigration status for every person arrest, even though a federal law specifically orders” federal officials to perform such checks when asked.
“What does sovereignty mean if it does not include the authority to defend your borders?” asked Justice Antonin Scalia.
Indeed. And how does a law get enforced if the federal government refuses to and attempts to keep states from as well? If this is the respect the government has for the law, how much do they expect the rest of us to respect it?
Ironically, this issue is coming to a head just as reports are being published that illegal immigration from Mexico may be close to zero – there may even be more going home to Mexico than are coming in. Nothing like a lousy economy for several years in a row to clear out those seeking greater opportunity.
That news does not make the issue moot, however. In fact, now – when the pressure is off a little bit – is a good time to come up with a coherent policy on illegal immigration and a sane plan for state and federal cooperation. As soon as the economy improves – make that if – the problem will return.
There is a much bigger issue here than immigration involving where federalism is and where it might be going. The founders created a Constitution that wisely put the most power in local hands, giving the federal government only those few powers specifically enumerated. But through the years, through aggressive administrations and acquiescing courts, our system has been flipped on its head. The federal government is all powerful, while state and local governments must beg for crumbs.
There is a growing sentiment flowing up from the grassroots to correct this imbalance. Any small hint that a majority of Supreme Court justices might share that sentiment is to be enthusiastically celebrated.
Our immigration law might survive - News-Sentinel.comThe price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. Plato