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Letter to the editor:

Immigration enforcement is duty of the states

Wed, May 2, 2012 (2:01 a.m.)

This may come as a shock, but “immigration” is not mentioned in the United States Constitution. Congress was only granted the power to establish rules for “naturalization” (citizenship). The individual states dealt independently with the issues affecting immigration until 1875, 99 years after the U.S. Constitution.

Immigration was not a problem when the Continental Congress established the Constitution. As a consequence, power was not granted to any branch of the government to deal with immigration; nor was an agency created to deal with this issue. It was not until the passage of the Immigration Act of 1891, 115 years later, that a bureau was established to manage this function.

Why does this matter? Under the 10th Amendment, “the powers not delegated to the United Sates by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively ...”

This means that “immigration” falls under the jurisdiction of the individual states. To the state of Arizona, it means the U.S. Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over the laws passed by that state designed to control “illegal immigration” within its borders.

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Discussion: 25 comments so far…

  1. This is an interesting insight . If correct, the Arizona statute under SCOTUS review should be upheld in material part. It makes perfectly good sense that the individual states should have the necessary powers to protect the rights,lives and property of their citizens and interests as sovereign entitities. It has been abundantly clear in recent years that the Feds have no interest in the inherent interests of the citizens of the states to the rights of these citizens to protect their interests in the realm of immigration controls and enforcement. The Feds actions have been scandelous.

  2. There are two simple reasons that Federal immigration laws are not enforced.

    Both the R and D parties are supported, both with monetary contributions and get out the vote support at election time by business interests that want illegal immigration to continue. By paying these workers less and not providing benefits, these businesses increase their profits while shifting what should be their responsibility onto the general public who in turn pay higher taxes.

    The D party fully understands that the odds are good that once illegals become citizens at some point, a majority are much more likely to vote D than R, and that is excellent news for the D party.

    These two facts also illustrate exactly why our country is so screwed up.

    1) Lobbying by businesses and others cause our 'good for nothing' Congress to make decisions based on their own desire to garner contributions so they can retain office, rather than do the jobs we elected them to do.

    2) Both parties and members of Congress have as their number one priority, obtaining and retaining majority status in government. This means that they pander and make decisions, not in the countries best interest, but instead foster their desire to be the 'majority' party.

    Look at any issue we face and you will see the same two motivators at work. It is truly tragic and sad.


  3. The Constitution is silent about much more than immigration. How about drugs, communications, railroads, airspace, public lands to name just a few that come to mind.

    Arizona has no southern state line. The southern extent of Arizona is limited by the International Boundary between the United States and Mexico. What nation, in its right mind, would delegate control of its international boundaries to the states or provinces adjacent to that boundary?

    And, by the way, when the Constitution was written, Arizona was part of Mexico and poulated by Mexican citizens and Native Americans. So who are the real "illegal immigrants" in Arizona? =)

  4. The Constitution does address immigration. It banned any limitation on the importation of slaves into the United States before 1808.

    Article 1 Section 9 reads "The Migration or Importation of such Persons any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight..."

    Seems to settle this question, doesn't it.

  5. Michael, I believe you are right when you say businesses love illegals because they can pay them less and work them more, but why would unions, supposedly looking out for the best interest of their members, champion under-the-table competiton to them? Why is the Culinary Union such a stalwart in favor of illegals? It makes no sense other than unions, socialism in the work place, are enthralled with undermining capitalism and overthrowing the USA many of us grew up in. But then, seeing the Red side of union "leaders," I guess there really is no mystery at all! BTW, don't give me that "human rights" BS! After all, aren't legal and current members of unions human, as well? Perhaps, under union "leadership," they are considered expendable!

  6. The liberal posters will love your article; they'll jump on their rhetoric band wagon, racism and the rights of entitlements.

    Here is one for them, if, if's and buts' were fruits and nuts, everyday would be Christmas for them.

  7. Jerry,

    I look at Union management the same way I look at our own government. Both have the 'stated' purpose of doing what is right for the people that employ them. They also have their own self interests, that in all too many cases trump 'doing what is right for the people that employ them.

    The union hierarchy stance on immigration is simple to understand if you understand the above.

    Unions power is directly connected to the number of people in unions. Therefore, unions support more immigration, legal or illegal. They know many of these people will join unions, which is good for them. The unions will simply advocate for higher wages and better benefits for ALL their members, immigrants and non immigrants, legal and illegal, as long as they belong to a Unions.

    Unions are about advocating for their members but just as important and likely more important is growing larger so they have more influence. For the Union hierarchy, more members mean high salaries, more benefits and more power for the Union Hierarchy. It sounds cynical but I am convinced that is the way both our own government and unions work.

    Unless we change that, our country is doomed.


  8. From what I see, if the State of Arizona gets to use SB 1070, to complement the Federal laws, there are going to be dire results.

    Sure, sure, they will get a hand in driving out all them evil illegal immigrants out of their Sovereign State. I get that.

    But there is a whole picture to look at.

    Here's what I predict.

    Law enforcement assets in Arizona, who are already overstretched in what they do regarding crime prevention and law enforcement, are now added a whole host of new laws, some of them entirely confusing because they deal with immigration issues out of a normal law enforcement officers balliwick, will degrade the performance and mire them down in areas that take them away from personal/property/violent crimes.

    You can't tell me illegal immigrants all commit violent crimes and steal like crazy.

    Law enforcement will degrade in the State of Arizona, concentrating on stuff they have no business involved in.

    Secondly, any Latino now, once they step outside, becomes fair game to be checked to see if they are an American citizen, are here legally or they are illegal. I don't know about anyone else, but just based upon looks is unfair. This will drive people out of the State. Even the ones who are American citizens. There's only so much you can take.

    Third, civil rights lawsuits will increase, soaking up taxpayer money to pay out.

    Fourth, more and more prisons will sprout up in Arizona to accomodate the new laws to house all the illegal immigrants they want to round up like cattle.

    Fifth, businesses will be driven out of the State. This already happened in Alabama. Kind of hard to collect taxes when there is no one there to collect from.

    As an aside, this will be good business for Nevada. Because alot of them will come here and benefit Nevada.

    Sixth, because of the crackdown, services will degrade. Prices will go up. Some services provided will disappear. And no one will take their place.

    There are probably more, but those are the big ones. In essence, if this law goes into effect, Arizona is signaling their slow economic destruction. Some of this will happen quick, but a lot of it will take place over time. A slow death.

  9. Colin,

    Alot of what you predict may or may not happen. Economics is complex and doesn't lend itself well to predictions. That said, I always have questions for people like you who criticise most efforts revolving around immigration.

    Should we (A) just leave everything as it is? Should we (B) change our immigrations laws to reflect what we actually do, which is make largely unsuccessful attempts to keep illegals out and then make token attempts to remove them once they are here while allowing businesses to exploit them? Should we (C) actually implement E-Verify and insist that the Federal government actually enforce immigation laws on the books?

    What is, in detail, your suggestion? It's easy to criticise but takes effort to detail what you'd do instead.


  10. wtlpv asks: "What is, in detail, your suggestion?"

    My suggestion is to let the Federal Government do their thing. And, contrary to what people think, it is being done. And it is being done far more than ever.

    Look, I'm not saying that what Arizona is trying to enact into law is wrong nor right.

    I'm just saying it's unnecessary and, if it goes into effect, is a total waste of money and time for the entire State of Arizona.

    The biggest problems regarding immigration are two fold.

    First, the southern border of the United States will ALWAYS have this immigration problem. You build a fence, they will go around it, over it, under it and/or through it. You ask any Border Control Agent worth his salt, they will emphatically agree with this assessment. They will also state without any hesitation the only thing that will get rid of this problem is for Mexico to improve their government and their economy. THAT'S IT.

    But having said that, there's another problem that crops up on top of this.

    We have politicians who use this for political points. They don't approach it rationally and sit down at a table, negotiate and figure it out.

    Right now, with our broken political system, it's far better for them (and easier) to just sit down and point fingers at each other. This gets nothing done.

    So, I can honestly tell you I don't have an answer.

    Why? Because look at the whole climate of this.

    It's a losing proposition no matter who comes up with a novel idea to fix it.

    I say it can't be fixed.

    But if Arizona wants to go it alone and fix it, I say go for it. But the reality of the situation is look at the rhetoric about the law down there. It's ALL political. It's not being done to solve a problem. IT'S POLITICAL. I repeat. They don't have a clue how to fix it other than to exploit this all for political purposes.

    As you can see, wtlpv, a very, very complex problem. I ain't got an answer. Do you?

  11. I meant "wtplv," not "wtlvp." Sorry.

  12. Colin,

    Yes, I have a suggestion. A fence or a gazillion border agents won't stop the illegal immigration. And Mexico isn't going to improve its economy enough to stop it either.

    The only way to stem the flow is to do what Mexico does with Central American's who want to come to Mexico... they won't allow them to work in Mexico. If you can't work there and make money, there is no reason to go to another country on a permanent basis.

    Mandate E-Verify use by all employers and fine and sanction them for hiring illegals. The system won't be perfect but if we can design systems that take us to the moon, we can design a pretty darn good E-Verify system and implement it and the fines and sanctions that go along with it.

    There are those that want open borders and there are those that want no immigration. Ignore those people and listen to rational people. There is a way to make this better.


  13. The steps you would like to see happen deal with employers.

    This means you disagree with most of what SB 1070 puts forth.

    Cool. That means you agree with me.

    The problem is that with rational people, there are none of those in our political system. Any steps from a rational person to sit down and try to address the problem...usually gets shouted down. Finger pointing at the expense of illegal immigrants and, yes, even Latinos, is the norm nowadays.

    I still say this Arizona law is political tomfoolery and trying to jab a knife in the eye of the Federal Government. And if it gets the nod from the U.S. Supreme Court, that is ALL it will accomplish. I don't see any tangible benefits at all for the Sovereign State of Arizona. Except for money and time wasted, with nothing at all accomplished to get at the roots of this incredibly complex problem.

    And I still say this is okay if Arizona wants to go about it that way. But it's only going to hurt them in the long run. All the way from politicians all the way down to the average working person to the police to the small businesses, you name it.

    I guess we'll see.... And soon....

  14. Much of SB1070 deals with denial of employment to illegal residents and not just checking of papers. It addresses several different aspects of the problem.

  15. Colin,

    SB1070 is the wrong solution, but I don't blame Arizona for trying that solution. And maybe, it the court upholds it, the Federal government will finally be prompted to deal with the illegal immigration issues.

    The Federal Government caused all this grief because they never dealt with illegal immigration. It just stood to reason that eventually it would come to a head.


  16. I will predict AZ will be able to balance its' budget and it municipalities will have better budgets, not to mention hospitals will not be going broke. The illegals will scatter like roaches, so the other nearby states will have to do the same to combat the problem.
    I do not agree with Michael the d and r have hidden agenda to allow them, rather it is easier to ignore at a fed level. I do not think Colins predictions will happen, rather the opposite, as the drag of unfunded free housing, medical, education stops sucking up money that can be used for the good of the citizens, AZ will do well with new business and new residents.

  17. CarmineD states: "Three cheers for Gov Jan Brewer. She stuck her finger in the Presidents' face when he met her on the tarmac and dressed her down."

    I also give three cheers and appreciate Governor Brewer sticking her finger in the President's face with the open mouth clearly shouting and yelling like a deranged woman at him.

    One look at that picture says a thousand words about Tea/Republican Party bullying tactics, political incompetence, imperial attitudes outside the realm of acceptable political courtesies, and some kind of unbelievable insatiability to act tough, yet at the same time having no clue what to do to fix anything.

    One glance at that picture fortifies in everyones' mind President Obama needs to get voted into office for another four years.