It has been threatened, and now it's happened - the Federal government has sued the state of Arizona over its controversial new law providing for immigration enforcement. Interestingly enough, the Fed's Complaint does not make allegations of racial profiling or other discrimination - it is based primarily upon the "Supremacy Clause" of the U.S. Constitution.
Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution states:
|This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.|
Article I, Section 8, wherein the powers of Congress are enumerated, includes that the Federal government shall be authorized to establish a "uniform rule of naturalization." This has been interpreted to mean that the Federal government has exclusive and pre-emptive right to establish immigration and naturalization laws. Thus, the Federal government contends in the current lawsuit that Arizona has no Constitutional right to pass the law it did.
Arizona, on the other hand, contends that its law is not a usurpation of Federal power, but is a complimentary law enabling its peace officers to more thoroughly enforce Federal immigration law. For example, the Arizona law does not set standards for immigration or naturalization, and relies upon Federal law to define those terms. The Arizona law merely sets a procedure and standard for enforcement of Federal immigration law. Arizona, of course, also contends that the Federal government has failed in its assigned task, resulting in some 460,000 illegal immigrants coming into Arizona annually.
President Obama persists in his mischaracterization of the Arizona law. He continues to refer to it as a racial profiling law, claiming that it allows law enforcement personnel to act because of "the color of a person's skin." Obama has either not read the law, or is making an intentional misrepresentation of what the law says. Or both. The Arizona law explicitly prohibits racial profiling, and it requires three levels of probable cause before anyone can be asked to prove citizenship or legal residency. Thus, an officer merely seeing a Hispanic person on the street cannot acost them for their "papers" unless there is probable cause to detain them for another criminal act, and probable cause to believe they are an illegal alien.
The Federal enforcement standard is not nearly so stringent as Arizona's in terms of the Constitutional requirement of probable cause to arrest or detain. There is nothing inconsistent in Arizona's law with Federal immigration standards, and Arizona has in no way sought to override Federal law on who is, or is not, an "illegal alien."
California has virtually the same law on its books, but no one has objected to it, or filed suit versus that state. Indeed, California has been among the most vocal states in criticizing Arizona's action, threatening boycotts, etc., as reprisal. California, however, is a heavily Democratic state populated with many Obama supporters. Is it any wonder the Obama Administration would target Republican Arizona, but not Democratic California?
This case will no doubt find its way ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court. With the present conservative majority, it seems likely that the Constitutional provisions in play will be strictly construed, and a distinction drawn between overall immigration policy, and a state's ability to pass a complimentary law relating to enforcement. It seems readily apparent that this suit is a political ploy by the Obama Administration to solidify its support among Hispanic voters. As such, it matters little whether the Administration wins or loses - only that it appears to "stand up" for illegal immigrants.
Does anyone else see the inconsistencies at play here? First, the Federal government suing to declare un-Constitutional a law that is only designed to enforce existing Federal immigration law? And second, after criticizing the Florida litigation against the Health Care bill as being "solely political", how is this suit any different? Of course, to such as Obama, Reid, and Pelosi, inconsistency matters very little, so long as they get their way.