On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Arizona’s Illegal Immigration law. Although most of the law was thrown out, the basic premise was left intact. That was the majority opinion of the Court. However, in writing the dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia took aim squarely at Barack Obama and his administration for selective enforcement of America’s immigration laws.
First, a recap… As reported by the Associated Press, “the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of Arizona’s crackdown on immigrants Monday but said a much-debated portion on checking suspects’ status could go forward.”
Side note: Here’s our liberal bias lesson for today. If someone were to come to this country through legal channels and take up residence in Arizona, would that person be the target of Arizona’s law that the Supreme Court reviewed? NO! Thus, Arizona is not and was not “cracking down” on “immigrants” in general. The law was made to address the problem of ILLEGAL immigration and to give Arizona some means of dealing with it. The Associated press with its phrase “crackdown on immigrants” tries to portray an image that is strikingly different from reality.
Ok, back to the story:
The court did not throw out the state provision requiring police to check the immigration status of someone they suspect is not in the United States legally. Even there, though, the justices said the provision could be subject to additional legal challenges.
The decision upholds the “show me your papers” requirement for the moment. But it takes the teeth out of it by prohibiting police officers from arresting people on minor immigration charges.
The court struck down these provisions: requiring all immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers, making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job and allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.
Of course, the ruling itself lead to more problems than it solves. Arizona police can still stop a person for a minor offense — say a traffic violation. In the course of that incident, if the officer suspects the person is in the country illegally, the officer can ask for proof of citizenship. However, if the person IS an illegal alien, the officer can’t do anything about it. Wow! That’s some solution.
As reported by The Hill, Justice Antonin Scalia, in writing the dissent, “ripped President Obama’s new deportation directive when he offered his minority opinion on the Arizona immigration ruling.”
The conservative justice accused Obama of selectively enforcing only those immigration laws that he deems appropriate and said states would never have joined the union if the framers of the Constitution had intended for the executive branch to wield power in such a way.
Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the high court, was not arguing that the administration’s policy was unconstitutional.
“The President said at a news conference that the new program is ‘the right thing to do’ in light of Congress’s failure to pass the administration’s proposed revision of the Immigration Act.7,” Scalia wrote. “Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so.”
Rather, Scalia questioned the administration’s motives, arguing that it didn’t make sense for the U.S. to sue to prevent a state from implementing partial immigration reform while unilaterally enforcing another set of partial reforms.
In his dissenting opinion, Scalia wrote, “Arizona has moved to protect its sovereignty — not in contradiction of federal law, but in complete compliance with it.”
The laws under challenge here do not extend or revise federal immigration restrictions, but merely enforce those restrictions more effectively. If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State. I dissent.
Scalia’s opinion should make everyone think about what the Obama administration is doing and how it does NOT comply with the U.S. Constitution. Whether we are talking about laws on voting rights, same-sex marriage, or illegal immigration, if there are laws on the books, the Obama administration CANNOT simply pick which ones to enforce and which ones to ignore. It is up to the courts to rule on constitutionality… not the president.
Arizona is trying to do what the federal government refuses to do. We must crackdown on the flow of illegal immigration before we can ever possibly address what to do about those already here.