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Arizona's ‘road map: Not much for states to do
New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien said on Monday that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Arizona immigration law gave New Hampshire a “road map” for how to proceed with our own immigration-related laws. It would be an awfully short map.
The court struck down most of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, saying much of it usurped federal authority. Overturned were the law’s provisions forbidding illegals from working in the state, making it a crime for them to fail to comply with federal alien registration requirements, and authorizing law enforcement officers to arrest without a warrant anyone they suspect of being an illegal alien. The most controversial bit was upheld: the requirement that law enforcement officers check the immigration status of people they have arrested or detained lawfully for other reasons if they suspect the person of being an illegal alien.
That leaves little room for state action. Checking an arrested person’s immigration status and contacting immigration is worth doing, but at best it would deter some illegals from entering the state.
What the Arizona ruling really did was highlight what a failure federal immigration policy is. “As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain in the United States,” the court noted. Our states are not failing us here; Washington is. That is what we need to fix.
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