At the outset it should be noted that despite the hyperventilating by the Mexican government, the media and various open borders groups, Senate Bill 1070’s main provisions simply embody the principal that local law enforcement officials should not turn a blind eye to illegal immigration. Local police are given the authority to enforce the law against illegal activity but maintain the freedom to prioritize other criminal activity over illegal immigration.
And yet, instead of welcoming help in dealing with the federal responsibility of securing our borders, President Obama instead chooses to sue our state. This is emblematic of an administration that is simply out of touch with the sentiment of the vast majority of Americans.
We say emblematic because, while the administration’s legal assault on Arizona over SB 1070 has received the most press attention, it is just the tip of the iceberg in Obama’s attack on commonsense legislation that upholds the rule of law.
The Obama Justice Department also unsuccessfully urged the Supreme Court to block Arizona’s law on employer sanctions, apparently in the belief that employers should be able to hire illegal immigrants with impunity, and thus encourage their entry into the U.S. Keep in mind that this employer sanctions law was supported by a majority of Democrats in the Arizona Legislature and signed into law by then Governor Janet Napolitano, ironically enough now Obama’s Homeland Security Director.
Lately the politicized Justice Department has taken to trying to block laws that require people to show identification to vote, specifically in Texas and South Carolina. Large majorities of Americans support these laws and know they are necessary to protect the rights of American citizens to have their vote count fully, a fact reinforced when someone who was obviously not Attorney General Eric Holder presented himself at a Washington, D.C. polling place and was given Holder’s ballot to vote!
Like these other laws that have been passed by the people of Arizona or their elected representatives, the fate of Senate Bill 1070 is important to us. As law enforcement officials in Arizona, this is not just an obscure question that legal scholars find intellectually stimulating. We simply cannot respond to the needs of the citizens of our state if the federal government both abdicates its duty to secure our border and launches a legal attack on anyone seeking to fill the void they have left.
SB 1070 does not run afoul of the U.S. Constitution, and it can and will be implemented in a way that enhances our ability to combat illegal immigration but nonetheless safeguards the rights that we all cherish.
It is true some people disagree with the people’s desire for strong enforcement of laws against illegal immigration. But that is a matter to be resolved in the democratically elected bodies of our nation. The fact that Obama has been unable to get the American people to go along with him on this issue is not a good reason for the Courts to step in and impose the administration’s desires by judicial fiat.
Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever is honorary chairman of BorderSheriffs.com which helps provide Arizona sheriffs a sufficient legal defense from the Obama Administration, the ACLU, and others opposing a secure border and enforcement of SB 1070.