Our view: Issue for Congress to address
June 26, 2012 1:18PM
THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Updated: July 28, 2012 6:19AM
With immigration, the Supreme Court said quite clearly: Congress, you have a problem.
In ruling on Arizona’s tough new immigration law, which has the state unilaterally assuming responsibility to deter illegal immigration, the court said it, for the most part, was an unconstitutional intrusion into federal responsibilities. However, the federal government, in the form of Congress, has not been all that keen about facing up to those responsibilities.
The court struck down three key provisions:
† Requiring all immigrants to register with the government and obtain and carry registration papers (the implication was at all times).
† Making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to look for work or hold a job in Arizona.
† Giving police the power to arrest illegal immigrants without warrants.
The court upheld the so-called “show me your papers” that allows police to check the immigration status, but prohibited police from arresting on immigration charges those they had stopped.
The justices said this provision could be open to additional challenges, for example, on racial profiling. Civil rights groups that had already filed such lawsuits said they would continue to pursue those legal avenues.
The decision, and the probability of more challenges, has implications for Indiana and four other states that have adopted similar laws.
Each year in office, the Obama administration has set records for the number of people it deports.
But Republicans keep moving the goal posts on immigration. They have flatly ruled out legalization, dismissing amnesty — not without reason — as a reward for illegal conduct.
Political gamesmanship will not solve the problem; only comprehensive immigration reform will. But both former President George W. Bush, a Republican, and Obama, a Democrat, have tried that and failed.
Now, thanks to the high court, the problem is squarely in Congress’ lap.
Scripps Howard News Service