A commentary by J. F. Kelly, Jr.
In a rational world, you would expect that a national government would welcome the assistance of state and local law enforcement agencies in supporting the laws of the land. Indeed, that is the case in many countries but not always here. This might seem passing strange to an objective observer because the federal government certainly needs help in enforcing its laws. That is, of course, if the federal government really wants all its laws enforced. On that matter, it is rather selective for reasons largely political.
The Obama Administration prefers comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship for the 12 or so millions of illegal aliens already here as a way to deal with the illegal immigration crisis. That’s at least partly because a path to citizenship for them would probably also present a path to their reliably Democratic votes to help preserve their liberal social agenda.
So the United States is suing one of its own states over a law passed in desperation by the state’s legislature. The feds allege that the law intrudes on federal prerogatives to enforce immigration law and would put some people who are here legally at risk of being profiled or singled out because of their appearance. The law had not yet even taken effect so there was no actual evidence to support any charge of profiling and, in fact, the law, as written, contained safeguards and warnings against such abuses. The clear intent of this premature and politically motivated lawsuit is to pander to Hispanic voters by pretending to be deeply concerned with the sensitivities of the Hispanic voters in this critical election year with Democratic prospects foundering. The energy and resources expended on this lawsuit and others to come could better be spent addressing the problems that led to the Arizona law in the first place: namely, the broken border.
Since Operation Gatekeeper cracked down on illegal border crossers in the San Diego border region and pushed them further east into the remote desert areas of southern Arizona, the Grand Canyon State has been the victim of an unprecedented invasion by illegal aliens. They have trashed and vandalized the property of border residents and turned their neighborhoods into pathways for the smuggling of drugs, weapons and human beings. Frustrated, angry and frightened Arizonans demanded help from the federal government whose responsibilities include border security and the protection of U.S. citizens and their property from violence. The federal government’s response? We need comprehensive immigration policy reform.
But the citizens of Arizona weren’t asking for comprehensive immigration policy reform. They were asking for protection against hordes of invaders from a foreign country, not all of whom were crossing into their state to mow their lawns, clean their homes, tend their children and work in restaurants.
The federal government certainly welcomes help from the states in enforcing other laws and policies. Local law enforcement helps enforce the laws, for example, on federal highways and helps provide protection for federal officials and facilities in their areas. And why doesn’t the federal government respond with lawsuits against cities who declare themselves sanctuaries where federal laws on illegal immigration will not be enforced? Instead, it reacts with a lawsuit against a state that is trying to protect its people and their property because the feds are unable or unwilling to do so.
Attorney General Eric Holder has said that enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility. Exactly. But it has utterly failed in this responsibility. Twelve million illegal aliens at large attest to that failure. A nation that cannot control its borders is simply not secure. Traditionally, one of the principal reasons for maintaining a military organization is to protect borders.
Other states are considering legislation similar to Arizona’s. They should proceed. The feds clearly need the help, because without the cooperation of local and state law enforcement, nothing short of militarizing the border will work. Americans, in ever increasing numbers, are demanding action. It should be a no-brainer. Stop illegal immigration. Don’t even mention comprehensive reform until you do. If this administration can’t or won’t do it, the voters will elect one that will.
Copyright 2010 J. F. Kelly, Jr.