I personally see the supremacy clause line of attack as questionable since it would seem that Arizona is simply trying to enforce our basic immigration laws, which make it illegal to be in our country without a visa or proper citizenship. The Arizona law, known as SB 1070, requires police officers to verify the legal status of people if the officer is suspicious that the person is in the United States illegally. The bill makes it a state crime to be in the country without authorization.
As a member of the bipartisan Immigration Reform Caucus, I have cosponsored a number of immigration reform bills, including H.R. 2000, the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act.
The SAVE Act offers a three-part plan to drastically reduce illegal immigration, which includes a strict emphasis on border security, the verification of an employee’s legal status, and increased enforcement of existing laws. H.R. 2000 would hire 6,000 additional new Border Patrol agents and 1,150 new ICE agents. In addition, it provides the tools necessary to ensure the INS agents can successfully protect our borders, including additional vehicles, better infrastructure, new facilities, lighting units, weapons, and armor.
The SAVE Act also expands E-Verify and makes it available for use by every employer over a four-year period. This will benefit employers because they will be able to efficiently check whether or not their employees are legally authorized to work in the United States. If the federal government would do their job and pass legislation such as the SAVE Act, Arizona would not have a need to enforce SB 1070, and they would not be on trial for the law today.
Illegal immigration is a serious threat to our national security, one that is very expensive and a burden to hardworking taxpayers. Furthermore, there is a national debate over what to do with the 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. Something needs to be done to solve this problem. The federal government needs a comprehensive solution to the problem of illegal immigration that starts with securing our borders.
Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) is a member of the Education and Workforce and Veterans' Affairs Committees.