A Single Federal Court Judge
Observations and Analysis by
Jay B Gaskill
Attorney at Law
Acting out of frustration with lax federal border enforcement, the State of Arizona enacted legislation designed to enlist local police in the effort to catch and detain illegal-status persons within its borders whenever they otherwise brought themselves to the attention of the authorities. This measure, borne of desperation (kidnappings, thefts, robberies and shootings along the Arizona – Mexico border have become a security nightmare), was immensely popular in Arizona and enjoys powerful popular support across the USA.
But not within the current administration.
Here is some key language from the Arizona law:
No official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may limit or restrict the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.
For any lawful contact stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who and is unlawfully present in the united states, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation.
Today U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton gutted the new Arizona law (SB 1070) by blocking the enforcement of provisions that makes it a crime not to carry immigration registration papers, for a person of illegal status to seek or perform work. Bolton’s injunction also means Arizona will not be able to require police officers to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest.
Judge Bolton’s decision was framed as a temporary measure, but in reality the Arizona law is effectively dead until the US Supreme court gets the case, probably no earlier than 2011.
One argument, advanced by the administration and the ACLU, was that federal resources were inadequate to handle the food of illegals who would be detained. Judge Bolton agreed, finding – at least temporarily – that the federal law (largely identical with Arizona’s) has presumptively preempted the field. Thus federal, i.e., administration, policy of inaction trumps Arizona’s action.
This leaves the southern border states at the mercy of the federal government’s inability and – frankly also – unwillingness to enforce border security, by effectively forbidding any meaningful independent state action to accomplish the same end.
I should not neglect a related story.
The federal government is rapidly expanding a program to identify illegal immigrants using fingerprints from arrests, drawing opposition from local authorities and advocates who argue the initiative amounts to an excessive dragnet.
The program has gotten less attention than Arizona’s new immigration law, but it may end up having a bigger impact because of its potential to round up and deport so many immigrants nationwide.
The San Francisco sheriff wanted nothing to do with the program, and the City Council in Washington, D.C., blocked use of the fingerprint plan in the nation’s capital.
AP 7-26-10 / Ivan Moreno
Here’s the deal.
We are seeing the last stages of an epic conflict between a naïvely altruistic “we are all brothers and sisters” political-moral ideology, with which our country’s governing intelligentsia has become infatuated, and a ruggedly practical “protect the home-front” ethos, that has constituted the popular majority for as long as these things have been measured.
In the former view, national boundaries are inhumane constructs; therefore, the illegal status of someone living here is an irrelevant, even “improper” consideration, because – after all – we are all brothers and sisters.
The irony is palpable:
No other country in the world has allowed such lax immigration policies to persist for so long. The country to our south is at risk of falling into the failed state category, barely able to contain the depredations of its drug lords, yet Mexico has far more stringent immigration enforcement policies on its southern border than the most restrictive Arizona sheriff has ever contemplated.
If Mexico actually fails as a state, we will be forced to close the southern border in self defense.
“It is absolutely impossible, without the expenditure of very large amounts of manpower and money, to seal off our long land borders to all illegal immigration. But these three actions by the Congress will give us the tools we need to find and deport illegal immigrants once here and to discourage those of our own citizens who are aiding and abetting their movement into the country.”
Following WWII, President Truman deported over two million illegal immigrants. Eisenhower deported four million.
Any political observer with the slightest sense of history will recognize this issue as the true Tea Party flashpoint.
Jay Gaskill’s new thriller is a parable about a truly scary “immigration” problem (hint- they are not from here].
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