On Wednesday, the court will take up the most controversial topic since women decided to nurse in public: immigration. There are a lot of people who are offended by seeing a child munching on Mommy in public, but an infinitely greater group who are angry at illegal aliens sucking at Aunt Samantha’s teat.
So, the justices on the High Court will have to decide whether to invalidate a system of laws that make this country inhospitable to what some call interlopers and others call integral parts of the economy, or whether to uphold its fundamental tenets on the grounds that the federal government abdicated responsibility and so the 10th Amendment allows the states to take over.
I’m watching closely, not only because this butters my own personal bread (I’m an immigration lawyer, as regular readers know) but also because I think it says a very great deal about who we are as a nation.
No one more than me is aware of the chaos that occurs at the border on a regular basis. Border patrol agents are dying, as are immigrants who decide to risk that Rio Grande crossing in the hopes of a better life. And to those who are turning up their noses at the ‘better life’ comment, you have probably never lived in a country where 99% of the people would risk their lives to have what the whiny 99% here already have.
But that’s no excuse for letting people violate our immigration laws, which stink, by the way. We have to both revamp the system which makes it virtually impossible for skilled workers and close family members to immigrate, and which also allows dangerous criminals to prey on citizens.
But, and this is important, states can’t just start enforcing their own version of justice willy nilly because the federal government hasn’t done enough. It hasn’t, that’s the tragic and infuriating truth. But unless we want to rewrite the Supremacy Clause and ignore federal pre-emption, the court has to invalidate Arizona.