Thursday, August 5, 2010

Immigration as the domain of the Federal level of governance

ARTICLE: Editorial Observer - The Hunt for American Decency in the Arizona Quicksand - (Via New York Times.)

I completely agree with this article on immigration law. Namely this:

The message was that Arizona cannot have its own immigration or foreign policy. It cannot tell the federal government how to enforce its laws. It is not up to any state to seize the power to upend federal priorities, particularly to wield a blunt enforcement tool that will do harm to Hispanics, citizens or not, who live in certain neighborhoods, wear certain clothes, drive certain vehicles and speak Spanish or accented English.

I often talk about the concept of 'localism' (really it's just properly executed Federalism), some of which falls under the category of States Rights, and I believe that large segments of our governance should fall under more localist jurisdiction. Ie, entitlement programs would be better executed and constitutionally non-controversial if devolved to the state level (ie ie, despite my libertarian leanings, I'm personally perfectly fine with anything up to and including a single payer health care system IF done at the state level)

But this is article outlines a really good example of where the Federal government's jurisdiction comes in. Localism should only apply to areas of policy that actually affect us as individuals (again, entitlement programs, services, your basic every day laws that you as an individual encounter). Where the Federal government comes in is the interplay between states, the interplay between the collective of states (ie the USA as a national body) and other national bodies, superseding state laws when it comes to individual rights, and those policies that govern immigration into this country.


  1. I agree with you in spirit, but 11 million illegal aliens pretty much equates to an executive branch abdication of its enforcement of existing federal law. Border states suffer for this, can they sue up if the feds sue down?

    Also poles indicate that most American's want enforcement of existing border law. So who does the federal government work for?

  2. Thank you for the comment. There's a good comment on this topic over on Tom Barnnet's blog recently:

    Good bit:

    "Future immigration has to rational and pragmatic. We need to follow Singapore and let people in who want to work. One has to realize that increases in immigration are directly correlated to economic progress. This is due somewhat from a mere increase in the country’s head account but also to the fact immigrants tend to have that burning ambition to better themselves and their families."