President Obama, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the list goes on, acknowledge that they have not read SB 1070. The now internationally famous 10-page Arizona law, which essentially says that Arizona law-enforcement officials have a right and a duty to enforce federal immigration laws and arrest illegal aliens when they encounter them in the course of carrying out their duties.
So what’s the confusion? Why are they so “disturbed,” yet can’t find time to read a simple law? Something any first-year law student knows to do before making a legal argument. It’s obvious they can’t or won’t make a legal argument. No wonder the American people are shaking their heads!
The reason these critics are so “disturbed” by the law is not its questionable constitutionality, because those arguments, which are likely to come the U.S. District Court, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court very soon, have already been made and found wanting in previous court cases filed by the same group of likely plaintiffs in Arizona now opposing Proposition 200, Protect Arizona Now.
This ballot measure, passed by voters in 2004, restricted public benefits from being bestowed on illegal aliens as well as requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote. Several other immigration related laws were passed in Arizona in the subsequent years relying on the same court rulings.
No, the reason they are disturbed is purely political. Democrats need a cause, a reason to rally their base to get out and vote this November. To date, the legislative agenda of President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been an abject political failure for the Democrats. Unfortunately for them, they have misjudged the illegal immigration issue and are finding out that the vast majority of Americans in poll after poll agree with Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer and SB 1070. State and local law enforcement officers should arrest illegal aliens and not turn a blind eye to the problem as they do in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston, just to name a few sanctuary cities.
Why will SB 1070 be found constitutional? For the simple reason there already have been several court precedents over the last 60 years affirming the right of states to enforce federal laws and specifically immigration laws. Historically, the federal government has maintained the authority granted it by the Constitution with regard to immigration laws. However, the Immigration and Nationality Act passed in 1952 allowed state and local officers across the nation to enforce certain sections of federal immigration law in the event they encounter an illegal immigrant.
This right was further extended in 1996 when Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). One provision of this act allows state and local officers to participate in some enforcement of immigration laws. During the debate in Congress over passage of IIRIRA the record clearly indicated that Congress intended the states to participate in the enforcement of the law unless they were specifically excluded.
While the federal government under the Supremacy Clause, Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, has asserted preemptive rights over immigration law, states can and do enforce federal laws. This is not my interpretation of the law but the opinion of U.S. District Judge David Bury on December 23, 2004 and subsequently confirmed by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding Proposition 200. Judge Bury said the government had addressed the court’s serious concerns. He further said the state’s interpretation does not go beyond the scope of federal law, which already requires proof of eligibility for public benefits.
During the court proceedings, for which I was present as a defendant, Judge Bury rejected the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ arguments regarding the Supremacy Clause as contrary to the intent of Congress with regard to the enforcement of IIRIRA.
Of course, this is nothing new for Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, then-governor of Arizona. This court decision was a crushing blow to her and to the open borders crowd. You see, Gov. Napolitano had maintained from the beginning that she had grave doubts about the constitutionality of the law. Sound familiar?
Reading the law would carry the further burden of having to voice an educated opinion, which would lead to the inevitable conclusion that the law was very likely to be found constitutional. Certainly the Democrats don’t want the facts to get in the way of their political pandering. To see how pathetic they are in avoiding having to answer the questions by claiming ignorance, view the sing along here.
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