One of our newer regular detractors “Tina S,” is quickly becoming one of my favorite members of the Wizbang family. In my article yesterday about the feud between the White House and Arizona, she did something I’d been too lazy to do: she went and quoted the exact language of the report to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
A recent Arizona law, S.B. 1070, has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world. The issue is being addressed in a court action that argues that the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law. That action is ongoing; parts of the law are currently enjoined.
Thanks to Tina, the blatant dishonesty of the Obama administration is clearly on display.
There is nothing in the Arizona law that challenges whether or not “the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law.” No, what is challenged is a bit more subtle, more nuanced: there are some very subtle distinctions.
The first is if the government’s power to set immigration law is exclusive to the federal government. No one is saying that the feds can’t set the law. What Arizona is arguing is that it has the right and the duty to protect its citizens by passing its own laws that perfectly reflect the federal laws, and tasking its own law enforcement officials with enforcing same.
The second is whether the power to enforce immigration law is exclusive to the federal government. This is a bit simpler; the answer is no. It’s long been established law that all law enforcement officers can and must, in crisis, act to enforce all the laws. For example, kidnapping and bank robberies are federal offenses, but a local police officer who witnesses either and chooses to just call the nearest FBI office would be grossly negligent. Yes, once the immediate crisis has passed and the feds are on the scene, they take charge, but that’s how Arizona’s law works: they detain the illegals, then turn them over to the feds. Arizona isn’t looking to try, convict, and imprison or deport illegal aliens all on their own.
The third is whether the power to enforce the law is a duty or a right. The difference is stark: one can choose whether or not to exercise a right, but is obligated to fulfill a duty. I would argue that enforcing the law is not a right.
The fourth is the question of what options the several states have when the federal government not only fails to live up to its duties, not only refuses to live up to those duties, but then fights like hell to make sure nobody else fulfills that duty.
That’s a matter that is simply not covered by the Constitution. The Founding Fathers never envisioned a time when the Chief Executive would simply refuse to enforce the laws, as his oath of office requires, and the Legislative Branch would be conflicted enough to allow it to happen.
In times like that, it’s necessary to try to find the parts of the Constitution that come close to covering the situation. And, as I’ve said before, on several occasions, I see the 10th Amendment coming into play:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Seems pretty simple. If something isn’t specifically set aside for the feds, it devolves down. So, if the feds won’t live up to their duties, then similarly it should devolve down as well.
The Obama administration could have given an honest report to the UN Commission of Obscene Jokes if they’d just added the word “exclusive,” but they didn’t. Instead, they chose to lie about it to boost their case.
Pity it’s not backed up by the actual facts. But then, if they were honest, they wouldn’t be the Obama administration we’ve all come to know and love.
And as far as I’m concerned, “lying to the UN Human Rights Commission” is an offense right up there with jaywalking.