Arizona Fights 'Intrusion of Obnoxious Aliens'; States Need to Protect Themselves When Washington Won't

Article excerpt


T he Supreme Court ruled that the state of Arizona checking the citizenship status of people detained or arrested for other offenses is not racial profiling. The court, however, refused to address the core issue: What can states do to protect their borders when the federal government refuses to enforce the law?

The ID check provision of S.B. 1070, the Arizona immigration statute had drawn the most heat in the public debate. The law's supporters were branded as racists, and liberal politicians exploited the controversy to pander for money and votes. While the justices noted the legal mandate could be applied in a discriminatory way, there was no evidence this had taken place, and that the law on its face was deemed constitutional. Justice Antonin Scalia noted in concurrence that Arizona's measure, merely tells state officials that they are authorized to do something that they were, by the [federal] government's concession, already authorized to do.

In passing S.B. 1070, Arizona sought to enforce existing federal law in a way that the Obama administration wouldn't, Rep. Ben Quayle, Arizona Republican, told The Washington Times. He said the ruling was an incomplete victory but empowers Arizona to enforce the law and keep its people safe. The aspects of the rule that were struck down - those which imposed state criminal penalties for immigration violations - were nullified on the basis of the doctrine of federal supremacy, but the court refused to offer options to frustrated states trying to compensate for Washington inaction during a crisis.

Arizona and other states are fighting the Obama doctrine of cherry-picking which legal requirements the chief executive will enforce. …