Ongoing battle on immigration harmful to state
Despite clear rulings that it is the federal government that has authority over immigration polices for the nation, Arizona officials continue to contest the concept.
At issue is a provision of a 2010 Arizona law addressing illegal immigration – commonly known as SB 1070. The specific rule makes it illegal under state law to protect and house foreign residents who are in the state and nation unlawfully.
Known as the “harboring” provision, a federal judge prevented its enforcement last year, one of various parts of the law that have been rejected by the courts as overstepping state authority.
State officials have appealed to get the harboring provision reinstated, claiming it conforms to federal law on the issue. But the U.S. Justice Department has now stepped in to support the federal judge's position on the rule.
The Justice Department objection gets to the heart of the problem with the state's efforts to intervene on immigration issues, and that is that it is a federal issue, not a state one. The reality is that under federal law, harboring illegal immigrants is already against the law.
“It is the national government that has ultimate authority to regulate the treatment of aliens while on American soil because it is the nation as a whole, and not any single state, that must respond to the international consequences of such treatment,” the Justice Department told the federal appeals court in opposing Arizona's appeal.
This was a position that was supported by the U.S. Supreme Court in rejecting other provisions of the Arizona immigration law.
It is a settled issue, and it is time for state officials to stop trying to fight that battle and move on to dealing with issues that are truly within state authority.
Arizona's continued obstinacy on the illegal immigration issue only perpetuates the state's poor image that has resulted from this law.