States' Inherent Authority to Enforce Immigration Law

But does SB 1070 attempt to regulate immigration? The nine states and one U.S. territory that filed a 16-page amicus curiae brief (PDF) last week in support of Arizona assert that SB 1070 does not give the state authority to decide who should or should not remain in the U.S., or under what conditions he remains. The law does not create a class of aliens different from that under federal law, nor does it authorize local law enforcement officers to deport illegal aliens.

States do have inherent authority to enforce immigration law. For example, the federal government must respond to any inquiry by a state or local government seeking to verify the immigration status of any person within its jurisdiction. Presumed in this requirement is Arizona's authority to question suspected illegal aliens about their status, and that authority is exercised under federal law. State and local police also have the inherent authority to make arrests for federal law violations, including immigration law. Arresting a suspect falls under enforcement.

What is it about stopping illegal immigration from Mexico and other Central American countries that draws such misguided indignation? Why does wanting to impede the flow and to reduce the presence of people who enter and remain without the country's permission generate such resistance? As far as the federal government is concerned, the primary motive is to maintain a cheap labor class at all costs, including the lives of ranchers and their families on the border.

The presence of millions of illegal aliens is a fiscal yoke around the American taxpayer's neck and a social burden on his back, and the federal government's weak enforcement is a smack in the face to those seeking to enter and to remain in this great country the legal way.