Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Arizona Immigration Law Rejected by U.S. Supreme Court as to Usurpations of Federal Powers but Upheld as to Law Enforcement Officials Right to Ask Persons Stopped or Arrested for Papers: The Terrible Trio Disagrees

As reported at the New York Times by Adam Liptak in Blocking Parts of Arizona Law, Justices Allow Its Centerpiece, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected provisions of the Arizona Immigration Law which usurped federal immigration law powers but upheld the right of law enforcement officials to demand papers of persons stopped or arrested who gave reason to suspect that they were in the country illegally.

This was a predictable decision. States' rights as to law enforcment powers were properly affirmed while federal power usurpation by States was negated.

The number of illegal immigrants fluctuates with the economy - they come when they find work and leave when work is not available. So who is responsible for giving them work? It is a national, not a State problem, in a country where the employers are found mostly in the Republican camp, the same people who are complaining the most about immigration.

As for a showing of papers, we live in Germany, where each citizen has an identity card, something that the Anglo-Saxon world has foolishly rejected in the past, while, in fact, the identity card system works beautifully.

In spite of the government knowing who we are, rather than guessing about our identities, we have greater freedom as citizens here in Germany than your average American has in the USA. You have a hard time being in Germany anonymously. The system -- rightly -- does not permit it as a matter of law. Why should people -- legals or illegals -- be anonymous to the government? Non-citizens do not get identity cards in Germany, but must be able to show who they are via a valid passport. Simple system. Effective. It works.

In America, the legal system is partly at fault for the immigrant document production predicament because of its antiquated notions about documents.

In the modern technical, digital age, not having identity cards as a national or State policy is just stubborn, backward stupidity. The mobile phone companies not only know who you are but can pinpoint your location anywhere in the country. At the same time, people still argue that the government allegedly has no right to know who you are via an identifying document. Absurd.

Besides, as a matter of States' rights, there is no question that individual States have the right to issue identity cards to their residents, legal or illegal, and to impose sanctions for not having such identity cards. That is a simple way to get around the immigrant document production problem without running afoul of the federal powers on immigration law. You issue identity cards to everybody, legals and illegals! What a simple solution.

As for States' right arguments, the dissents of Scalia, Alito and Thomas ("The Terrible Trio") can be ushered directly into the wastebasket as legal garble. If every State could pass its own immigration regulations and sanctions, the USA would be a nation of chaos in which interstate commerce would harken back to the days where every tin-horn baron levied his own customs duties on "foreign" merchants. That those three politically dogmatic and misled Justices do not understand the wisdom in that age-old simplicity is anathema.

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