Arizona Immigration Law
Illegal immigration into our country, the highest percentage coming from Mexico, is a national policy issue that many politicians would rather steer clear from and many do. The State of Arizona, apparently frustrated with the lack of federal action, passed their own version of immigration legislation into law in the past few weeks. Firstly, I will describe what this issue means to me; then I will explore the main points of this new state law, the constitutionality of the law, and finally broadly define how this law affects the entire country.
The subject of immigration, especially when it pertains to the United States, has always interested me. After all, everyone of us has an ancestor that came from somewhere else. But, when I think of immigration, I don??™t see the old days where thousands of Europeans were trying to pass through Ellis Island and gain access to America legally. No, what I see now are the thousands of Hispanics immigrating to our country illegally. This issue greatly interests me, because while we are fighting in the Middle East to protect Americans here at home, the world??™s only superpower has the largest and least protected border in the world. 100 years ago, Pancho Villa and 1,000 of his men, invaded the Southern United States. The entire National Guard was mobilized
to fight Villa, and push them back across the boarder. Fast forward to today and 5,000 to 10,000 Hispanics illegally enter the country everyday, and little is done to stop them.
These vast numbers of illegal immigrants puts a strain on our country economically. The census was created to know how many people are in the country, that way for example, we would know how many hospitals and schools are needed and where to put them. When these immigrants get sick, they simply go to the emergency room for treatment and then they don??™t pay their bill. The citizens of America are the ones that pick up that bill, and as a result, they end up paying more and more. Many of the immigrants crossing the border are individuals who have ties to drug traffickers, are criminals, and many wind up in notorious gangs in our largest cities. The state of Arizona??™s southern border with Mexico has long been the place where most of the illegal border crossings occur. The issue of drug trafficking and a recent increase in the scale of violence prompted Arizona to take matters into their own hands. The new law makes it a crime to be in the country illegally by specifically requiring immigrants to have proof of their immigration status. Violations are a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Repeat offenses would be a felony.
It requires police officers to make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person if there is reasonable suspicion that he or she is an illegal
immigrant. Race, color or national origin may not be the only things considered in implementation. Exceptions can be made if the attempt would hinder an investigation.
Allows lawsuits against local or state government agencies that have policies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws. Would impose daily civil fines of $1,000 to $5,000. There is pending follow-up legislation to halve the minimum to $500.
Targets hiring of illegal immigrants as day laborers by prohibiting people from stopping a vehicle on a road to offer employment and by prohibiting a person from getting into a stopped vehicle on a street to be hired for work if it impedes traffic. (The Associated Press/Cheryl Evans)
Many opponents to the legislation are looking at the Constitutionality of this law. After all, the Constitution states in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4, that Congress shall have the power to establish ???a uniform Rule of Naturalization???. This has long been interpreted by the courts as removing from the states the authority to deal with naturalization at all and leaving the issue solely to the federal government. ???That the power of naturalization is exclusively in Congress does not seem to be, and certainly
ought not to be, controverted,??? is how one chief justice of the United States, John Marshall put it in 1817 in deciding a case called Chirac vs. Chirac.
In this sense it appears that Arizona??™s law does not fall in line with the Constitution. It is overstepping its bounds and using powers granted to the Federal Government. But Arizona isn??™t using powers that are vested in the federal government for naturalization. It is well known, that it is against federal law to be in this country illegally. Arizona??™s law simply deals with what immigrants can do once they are in Arizona, or what Arizonans can do about immigrants in their state who are there illegally.
If it was Arizona??™s intention to push the federal government into action then they have achieved their goal. This week, Democrats called on Congress to take up immigration reform legislation, sighting that the controversial policy signed into law by Arizona highlights the need for a national overhaul. After all, the government needs to step in and pass the same uniform laws in regards to immigration throughout all states. Senator Christopher Dodd, D-Conn said Sunday, ??? The idea that state by state would start developing its own immigration laws in the country, imagine what a patchwork that might look like.??? Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is nationally known for his aggressive stance on anti-illegal immigrant programs, told Fox News that the people of Arizona are ???fed up??? with violence and the ???flood of illegal immigrants??? in their state.
Arpaio says, ???They want something done about it. Congress and the federal government has done nothing, but I predict that Congress will do something now.???
The affects of Arizona??™s Immigration Law on the country are not yet known. Many people around the country oppose the law. Whatever the motive behind the passing of the law; whether it be to pressure the federal government into action, or as an act of defiance against the government for abandoning them, one thing is certain, the government has heard and will be taking action.
The issue of illegal immigration affects everyone in the country. The people of Arizona have been so affected by it that they passed a law to protect themselves from it. Arizona isn??™t just a rogue state in the union; they asked the federal government for assistance and only after none was received did they take matters into their own hands. This is a perfect example of the separation of powers. The state cannot use powers that are vested in the federal government. I believe Arizona??™s Immigration Law is constitutional simply because they are not establishing naturalization laws. They have decided to protect themselves from the flood of illegal immigration from the south and the violence that comes with it.