Thursday, July 15, 2010

Constitutional Shootout at the It's Not OK Corral

Since this post is about the law, I think I'm legally required to tell you that I'm not a lawyer. That might be a law, I don't know.

Today's post is about the illegal immigrant debate centered around Arizona's new law to curb illegal immigration and the Obama administrations efforts to defeat it in court.

There can be no doubt that Arizona has a big problem with illegal immigration. Phoenix now holds the unwanted distinction of being the world's number two city where you are most likely to be kidnapped. Mexican drug cartels have established the state as their main route for drug importation into the US. A large swath of land is off limits to Americans due to the danger that drug runners pose to anyone who might disrupt their illegal trade, inside a National Park.

This is a situation that the good citizens of Arizona want resolved. Their pleas for help have fallen upon deaf ears in Washington for many years. For some inexplicable reason, the Federal government, who claims to have sole responsibility for border enforcement, is refusing to do its legal duty to enforce immigration laws. No one has explained the reason for Federal inaction. What is heard instead is the insistence that the southern border is more secure than ever.

Arizonans know better.

After years of Washington essentially allowing the invasion of the US by Mexicans, the state passed its own bill to enforce border security and insure the safety of the people. S.B. 1070 was written with an eye towards winning the inevitable legal challenge: its' wording closely mimics the language of Federal immigration law. Provisions in the law explicitly spell out the circumstances under which a suspect can be questioned about their immigrant status in a further attempt to deflect charges of racial profiling. In all, this bill was written to be as effective as possible to protect its citizens from Mexican criminals.

Here is where the story takes a turn towards the questionable. The Obama administration is currently seeking to strike down the law, saying it interferes with Federal immigration law. Many in Washington initially condemned the law without reading it. The crude irony in all this is that the state law was made necessary as a direct result of Federal authorities refusing to do their Constitutional duty.

Now here comes the sticky part of the government's argument against Arizona: the DOJ claims that the law interferes with its jurisdiction and impedes federal enforcement of the law. Washington claims to hold sole authority over the border and that no state has the right to interfere with enforcement in any way.

OK, Washington, if Arizona can't enact a law that interferes with federal enforcement of immigration laws, what about the many sanctuary cities in America that have passed their own laws directly prohibiting any cooperation with federal immigration authorities, cities such as San Francisco? Is that not interference with federal authority moreso than Arizona, whose law is nearly identical to Washington's and doesn't seek to interfere, but instead repeats the federal law nearly word for word?

I've often wondered about the legality of sanctuary cities. I'm not alone. Ace wonders too. He links to a Washington Times article that raises the same questions.

It's clear that sanctuary cities are in violation of the law, not only the Constitution, but also the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 that requires states to assist federal authorities in immigration matters.

Our Constitution mandates the enforcement of all laws passed by Congress and signed by the President.

All of them.

Not just some of them. And not just when you feel like it.

All of them.

It is crystal clear that President Obama cannot pick and choose which laws he wishes to enforce. Our republic doesn't work that way. We are a nation of laws, not of the whims of powerful men. Our legal framework is the glue that binds us together as a nation. Indeed, it is the sole reason for our existence. Ours is the world's oldest Constitution because of our adherence to the principles enshrined in it. We create laws we deem necessary to maintain order and repeal the ones we no longer need or want. This is the true nature of our freedom.

Anything less is anarchy.

Anything less defeats the whole idea of any society. Why have laws if they're not enforced?

In this blog's humble opinion, this issue could be a defining point in our history. Eventually, a suit will be filed that questions this administrations' selective enforcement of the law. The Supreme Court will be asked once again if our Constitution is the law of the land.

It must answer yes.

There is no other reply.

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