It's Washington's job

Immigration ruling shows where the real responsibility lies

Arizona apparently went too far in cracking down on illegal immigration.

But only because the federal government has failed – spectacularly – to go far enough.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Arizona immigration law case makes it clear that we’re not going to be able to fix a broken federal government from state capitals.

The 5-3 ruling struck down three of four parts of the Arizona law – though, notably, not the most important and most debated part: The justices let stand the portion requiring police to check the immigration status of detainees.

Fact is, the three partially dissenting justices – Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – simply didn’t think their colleagues went far enough in upholding the Arizona law. So, in essence, sentiment for upholding the Arizona immigration checks was 8-0 in favor.

Remember how President Obama railed against the Arizona immigration checks and their potential for racism? Even his own appointee voted to uphold it.

The three portions of the law struck down involved state penalties for being in the country illegal, which the majority ruled is the purview of the federal government.

Scalia lamented the majority’s decision to rein in Arizona, writing in his own opinion, “What I do fear – and what Arizona and the states that support it fear – is that ‘federal policies’ of nonenforcement will leave the states helpless before those evil effects of illegal immigration. Arizona bears the brunt of the country’s illegal immigration problem. Federal officials have been unable to remedy the problem, and indeed have recently shown that they are unwilling to do so.”

He’s right. But with Monday’s decision, it’s clear we have to fix Washington rather than go around it.

Of course, any responsive, responsible federal government wouldn’t have to be “gotten around” in the first place. It would have noted that one, and in fact more, of our sovereign states is desperate to secure the border. And it would have done its constitutional duty to do so, for the states that created it.

Instead of suing the states, Washington ought to be apologizing to them!

The fact remains that Washington is broken. And it can’t be fixed from Phoenix.

This ruling will no doubt be held up as proof of the need for “comprehensive immigration reform.” Hogwash. What we need is “comprehensive start enforcing the laws we have on the books” reform. We need to secure the border.

And now we know for certain whose job it is.

If the federal government scored a partial victory in this case, we all lost – because the Pyrrhic victory will only obscure the real issue:

We need the federal government to do its job.

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