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Argument: Arizona has right to fight illegal immigration w/o federal authorization

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Supporting quotations

Kris Kobach. "Why Arizona Drew a Line." New York Times. April 28th, 2010: "[Myth:] State governments aren’t allowed to get involved in immigration, which is a federal matter. [Counter-argument:] While it is true that Washington holds primary authority in immigration, the Supreme Court since 1976 has recognized that states may enact laws to discourage illegal immigration without being pre-empted by federal law. As long as Congress hasn’t expressly forbidden the state law in question, the statute doesn’t conflict with federal law and Congress has not displaced all state laws from the field, it is permitted. That’s why Arizona’s 2007 law making it illegal to knowingly employ unauthorized aliens was sustained by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit."


Kris Kobach. "Why Arizona Drew a Line." New York Times. April 28th, 2010: "the Obama administration has scaled back work-site enforcement and otherwise shown it does not consider immigration laws to be a high priority. Is it any wonder the Arizona Legislature, at the front line of the immigration issue, sees things differently?"


"New Arizona Immigration Law Makes Sense." Heritage Foundation The Foundry Blog. April 23rd, 2010: "Under the Tenth Amendment which preserves the traditional police powers of the states to control their own jurisdictions. The Heritage Foundation has advocated for extensive innovation at the lowest levels of government in terms of immigration enforcement. A 2009 report of Matt Mayer highlights how “state and local governments must [and can] do more” to do something about the illegal immigration problem—a conclusion that came from a series of THF roundtables aimed at talking to state and local officials about pressing public policy problems.

In fact, as Mayer points out, Arizona is not the first state to grow tired of waiting for the federal government to get serious about immigration enforcement. States like California and cities like Valley Park, Missouri have enacted laws and ordinances to enforce the law. Arizona itself enacted a law in 2007, which would crackdown on illegal hiring and require employers to use the federal employment check system, E-Verify, a law which has withstood significant legal challenges. In fact several states have enjoyed legal victories despite a significant number of court challenges on their ability to take such actions.

In terms of resources and in terms of political will, it has become abundantly clear that the federal government refuses to make the right decisions in terms of enforcing the law and making the critical reforms necessary to drive down illegal immigration. Sadly, efforts in Congress have been more about gaining political votes through an unnecessary amnesty than on honest and effective reforms.

Americans shouldn’t have to wait on Congress to start enforcing the laws on the books. Governor Brewer should be applauded for preserving rule of law and taking the power out of Washington to direct the debate on immigration reform. The federal government should listen clearly: state and local governments don’t like what the feds are offering."


Jena McNeill. "New Arizona Immigration Law Makes Sense." Right Side of the News. April 24th, 2010: "In fact, as Mayer points out, Arizona is not the first state to grow tired of waiting for the federal government to get serious about immigration enforcement. States like California and cities like Valley Park, Missouri have enacted laws and ordinances to enforce the law. Arizona itself enacted a law in 2007, which would crackdown on illegal hiring and require employers to use the federal employment check system, E-Verify, a law which has withstood significant legal challenges. In fact several states have enjoyed legal victories despite a significant number of court challenges on their ability to take such actions.

In terms of resources and in terms of political will, it has become abundantly clear that the federal government refuses to make the right decisions in terms of enforcing the law and making the critical reforms necessary to drive down illegal immigration. Sadly, efforts in Congress have been more about gaining political votes through an unnecessary amnesty than on honest and effective reforms.

Americans shouldn't have to wait on Congress to start enforcing the laws on the books. Governor Brewer should be applauded for preserving rule of law and taking the power out of Washington to direct the debate on immigration reform. The federal government should listen clearly: state and local governments don't like what the feds are offering."

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