Scalia takes swipe at Obama immigration action
(POLITICO) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suggested Monday that the Framers of the Constitution would have “rushed to the exits” if presented with the idea behind President Barack Obama’s recent decision not to enforce certain immigration laws.
The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down most of the key provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law “boggles the mind” in light of the Obama policy shift, Scalia added.
Speaking in dissent of most of the court’s rulings on Arizona’s immigration law, Scalia took a clear swipe in his remarks at the Obama administration’s new policy ending deportations of many young adults brought into the country illegally — which was not part of the Arizona case.
“The president has said that the new program is ‘the right thing to do’ in light of Congress’s failure to pass the administration’s proposed revision of the immigration laws,” Scalia said. “Perhaps it is, though Arizona might not think so.”
Scalia asked whether states would have entered into the union had the Constitution included a clause enacting immigration laws but stipulating that the president had a choice on whether to enforce them. Delegates would have “rushed to the exits” at Independence Hall.
By passing a state immigration law, he added, Arizona had “moved to protect its sovereignty — not in contradiction of federal law, but in complete compliance with it.”
But, “if securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign state.”
The court upheld a key piece of the Arizona’s law — requiring police to check the immigration status of those they arrest or stop for questioning — but struck down other pieces of the law, arguing the state had stepped into the bounds of federal law.
“To say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing immigration law that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind,” Scalia said.
The problem that Arizona faces, Scalia said, is not that scarce resources are being put toward enforcing immigration laws elsewhere and not in that border state, but the Obama administration’s policies.
“The husbanding of scarce enforcement resources can hardly be the justification for this,” he said of the new Department of Homeland Security directives, “since those resources will be eaten up by the considerable administrative cost of conducting the non-enforcement program, which will require as many as 1.4 million background checks and biennial rulings on requests for dispensation.”