Monday, May 3, 2010
Raising Arizona: The New Immigration Law
I would have liked to see Arizona pass a different kind of law, a much more aggressive law, such as a law saying that Arizona citizens do not have to pay federal income tax. That really would have caused all hell to break loose. The anti-immigration law is too tame to pose much of a challenge to the thugs in Washington, although perhaps a case can be made that Arizona has the right to refuse the Supreme Court's illegal power grab in Mapp v. Ohio, when the power freaks on the Supreme Court bench claimed to have the authority to force the states to obey the Fourth Amendment.
I reviewed the text of the Arizona law (part 1 is here and that links to the other parts) and found it a tad authoritarian. The law prohibits state officials from refusing to enforce federal immigration laws. It says that where law enforcement officials stop or arrest someone, a "reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person." In doing this race, color or national origin cannot be considered. Drivers' license, an id card or other government-issued identification can be used for proof of citizenship in a stop-and-id situation. State offices are allowed to exchange information about someone's immigration status. Aliens who illegally fail to register are held guilty of a misdemeanor and if they carry contraband like drugs or weapons they are guilty of a felony. The law illegalizes blocking traffic to pick up day laborers. Employers have to verify employment eligibility through something called "e-verify".
There is already a federal law on the books that requires proof of citizenship when someone is hired, which I recall considering an encroachment on liberty when it was passed in the early 1990s. I do not think this law is any more extreme than that, which I think should be repealed. I wish Arizona had picked a different area to make a test case of the 10th Amendment because the US government does have the right to regulate immigration. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to naturalize immigrants (too bad President Obama missed out). Regulation of immigration is not at issue under the 10th Amendment.
I dislike the power that Arizona grants to its law enforcement officials to demand an identity card. This is not the America that I know. However, I do think that this is a valid area for state legislation. The US Supreme Court illegitimately arrogated regulation of search and seizure to the federal government in the 1961 case of Mapp v. Ohio, in which it claimed that the Fourth Amendment applies to the states. That is ridiculous. The federal government, including the Supreme Court, has no authority to tell the states whether they have the right to search or seize, and any state has the right to tell the federal government to shove that US Supreme Court decision up its derriere. That decision amounted to violent illegality. F*ck them.
Hence, although I don't like the stop and id component of the Arizona law, I am glad of two things about it. (1) It really ticked off people in the People's Republic of Frisco, the land of fruit and nuts, and (2) It puts Arizona in the potential position of defying the goosestepping judicial Nazis at One First Street, NE.