There are some days I’m glad I live on the other side of the country from California, and this is one of those times. You see, the home of Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein, and anti-gun paranoia is also a state with a tax rate that’s ridiculously high and, oh yeah, it’s decided to become a sanctuary state.
The bill is being described by the LA Times as a direct response to President Trump and his stated views on immigration policy.
In a nutshell, SB 54 repeals previous California law that required any suspected illegal alien in the state charged with drug possession or other crimes to be reported to immigration authorities. It also aims to make it more difficult for ICE agents to locate and interview illegal aliens who might be incarcerated or otherwise detained within the California justice system. Under SB 54, ICE will not be notified when illegal aliens arrested and convicted of violent felonies are released from prison. This provision is particularly disturbing in light of Prop 57, which releases violent and non-violent offenders under an umbrella of extremely controversial conditions in order to relieve prison overcrowding.
To recap: California will now openly and brazenly defy federal law in order to protect criminals illegally living in the state. California will then grant many of those criminals early release. California will not even notify federal immigration authorities that said criminal is free and roaming the streets.
How many people who supported this took issue with Texas trying to do more to combat immigration a few years back? Just a show of hands?
The problem, of course, is the double standard. If immigration enforcement is a federal matter, then it’s a federal matter and states don’t get to make up their own rules. That means that if Texas can’t start deporting illegals directly, then California doesn’t get to ignore federal law. It’s just that simple.
Now, if progressives want to put some teeth back into the Tenth Amendment, well…then I’d be ready to talk, but we all know they only want federalism when it benefits them. This is a prime example of just that.
Regardless of how you feel about illegal immigration, I think we can agree that we need some consistency on this. Either it’s a federal issue or it’s not. It’s either OK for the states to decide for themselves how to deal with immigration, or it’s not. Legal consistency is at the heart of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. While I know that doesn’t necessarily apply to states, the principle is clearly part of the Founders’ intent.
So maybe it’s time for California to get a little comeuppance on this and let the courts decide once and for all how immigration should be handled.
In the long run, I don’t think California will like the results.