Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Feds delegation of immigration enforcement make SB 1070 suit’s claims sound hollow

A quick take on the federal government suing Arizona over SB 1070:

The Justice Department is asserting the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution that says on national matters, federal law trumps state law.

The feds are saying the responsibility for immigration enforcement lies with the federal government, not the states, therefore Arizona’s law is unconstitutional.

However, the federal government, through ICE’s 287g program, has been delegating its authority to the states by deputizing state and local officers to enforce federal immigration laws for at least a decade. Proponents of SB 1070 say all the state law does is copy the 287g program and requires state officers to adhere to federal immigration laws in enforcing the law. No new immigration standard was created by the state.

However, in order for the state to enforce federal law, it had to make being an illegal immigrant in Arizona a state crime, which is primarily what the feds are challenging.

But since the state law mimics the federal law, it’s hard to see where the usurpation of federal authority occurs, in light of the feds enlisting state help.

Where’s the harm to the Constitution?

Not that I’m a big fan of SB 1070. I think the AZPOST training videos nailed it, cops are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. It seems unlikely to me that this law can be enforced without running afoul of the 14th Amendment, the 5th amendment and the legal principle of innocent until proven guilty.

But someone needs to be arrested and have those rights violated before any challenge can be made (what is it lawyers say: No harm, no foul?), despite suits already filed claiming harm under these provisions.

I’m no fan of illegal immigration, but I’m unwilling to shrug my shoulders at the prospect of American citizens having to prove their citizenship if caught up in enforcement of this law simply because they “look” or “act” like some people who are illegal immigrants. A wrong in the name of border security does not make a right. A loss of liberty for one is a loss for all. There are other, better ways for states to combat illegal immigration.

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