by Investor’s Business Daily · March 7, 2018
Illegal Immigration: The Justice Department’s decision to sue California for violating the U.S. Constitution by obstructing federal immigration enforcement wasn’t made lightly. But given the enormous stakes involved it was necessary, and California deserves to lose, big time.
“California, we have a problem,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a speech Wednesday. “Here’s my message — how dare you. How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical, open borders agenda.”
California’s Democratic Party has moved so far to the left of the political spectrum, it can no longer be considered a mainstream party. But it’s nudging the state into a danger zone — one that most of its citizens don’t realize could have a major impact on them.
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Democrats — California is essentially a one-party state — recently passed three laws that they knew seriously conflicted with federal laws, but were nonetheless favored by the extreme open borders advocates among the Democrats.
The laws, together, make it a crime for businesses to voluntarily aid federal agents in nabbing undocumented workers; keep California law enforcement officers from telling federal agents when illegal immigrant detainees are released from jail, prison or other custody; and create special state inspections for federal immigration detention facilities.
Let’s be clear: Whatever your views on immigration, California’s actions are plainly illegal. The Constitution gives the federal government control over our borders and immigration, part of its duty to defend the U.S. The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, meanwhile, establishes federal law as “the supreme law of the land.”
This is a federal-state crisis, and deserves to be treated as such. Unfortunately, California’s top politicians treat their law-breaking as a joke.
“At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America,” said California Gov. Jerry Brown. “Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don’t work here. SAD!!!”
California’s State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, though somewhat more serious, bizarrely claimed that “public safety” enabled him to defy federal law. And he put forth the entirely erroneous legal theory that state law trumps federal law.
“No matter what happens in Washington, California will stay the course and enforce all our laws and protect our people,” he said. “That’s how we keep our communities safe.”
This is more than just another joke about loony, screw-loose California politicians. Laugh if you will, but California has 38 million people, about 12% of the nation’s total. It has at least 2.5 million illegal immigrants, or about 21% of the official U.S. total (some believe the number is far larger). It also has about a third of the nation’s welfare recipients. As such, California’s policies have an enormous impact on other states.
One need only look at the tragic example of the murderous Salvadorean MS-13 gang, which began in Los Angeles but now has spread mayhem, murder and drug addiction across the U.S. This isn’t an argument between California and the federal government; it’s really an argument between California and the other 49 states.
Just last weekend, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned illegal immigrant criminals in her city of an impending ICE operation. About half of those that ICE picked up had criminal records, including a variety of violent crimes. But hundreds of criminal illegals escaped, free to rob, rape and assault again, thanks to Schaaf. Oakland’s mayor may think herself a heroine, but she’s now guilty of a felony.
It’s ironic that impeccably progressive, far-left California seems to be following the Confederacy down the road to asserting a state’s right of “nullification” of federal laws. Recall that it was this very same nonexistent “right” that southern states asserted in the 1800s to defy the federal government on tariffs and slavery, and again in the 1950s to ignore desegregation laws passed by the federal government. Those did not end well for the states involved.
Indeed, progressives, since the founding of their movement in the late 19th century and early 20th century, have ardently advocated and argued for the idea that the federal government should have supreme power. Suddenly, now, they’re neo-Confederates. When laws don’t suit them, the descendants of those early progressives simply reverse the argument. Don’t like a law? Ignore it and write your own.
“There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is the supreme law of the land. I would invite any doubters to go to Gettysburg, to the tombstones of John C. Calhoun and Abraham Lincoln. This matter has been settled,” said Sessions in his speech Wednesday.
The federal government can’t look away. Those who flout the law must be punished with fines, federal aid penalties and, if need be, prison terms. This is not a game. Letting the once-Golden State slide would be an invitation to other states to ignore the Constitution and our nation’s laws. It would be an invitation to chaos and, eventually, the dissolution of the U.S.
For now, this will make its way through the courts, a tortuous process that can take years. In the interim, we would hope that those who are knowingly breaking the law would be arrested and tried for it. If our elected officials won’t respect the law, why should anyone else?