Following Federal Law on Immigration
Jul 13, 2010 -
In an interesting twist on the celebration of our nation’s independence, the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Arizona for its 2010 immigration enforcement law, SB 1070.
By doing so, the Obama Administration is disregarding the will of the majority of the American people who support Arizona’s efforts to reduce human smuggling, drug trafficking and illegal immigration.
At the core of the issue, we must remember that the Arizona law would not have been necessary had Congress dealt with immigration. However, the feds dropped the ball, and now states have been left with no other option but to take action. Arizona has taken this action in a reasonable and constitutional way.
In a letter I, along with 19 other Members of Congress, signed to Attorney General Holder after the Obama Administration announced its challenge, we wrote, “The new Arizona statute is harmonious with federal immigration law and uses current federal criminal provisions as the basis for state criminal provisions. And in barring racial profiling, the Arizona law explicitly adheres to the strict standards of the U.S. Constitution. The Arizona law simply requires non-citizens to follow the federal law.”
In essence, the Arizona law applies state penalties to acts that are already illegal under federal law; so the Obama Administration should explain why they are opposed to a state recognizing federal law.
Furthermore, the accusations the Justice Department make about this law reveal the contempt this Administration feels for immigration laws. They argue the law requires non-citizens to carry identification, yet federal law already requires non-citizens, including visitors and even Green Card holders, to keep their registration documents on their person.
And unlike the Obama Administration’s scare-tactic claim, the fact is that the Arizona law does not allow individuals to simply be stopped on suspicion and asked for their papers – they must first be lawfully stopped, detained or arrested in the enforcement of another law or ordinance.
Fortunately, other Arizona statutes enacted to protect residents from the harmful effects of illegal immigration have been upheld as constitutional by federal courts, including the 2007 law mandating that Arizona employers use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of new hires and revoke the business licenses of those employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
I remain hopeful that federal courts will uphold this law as well, as it abides by the Constitution and existing federal law.