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Commentary

Obama not concerned about states

Special To The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 07:36 PM

When the Supreme Court ruled that the key component of the Arizona immigration law meets constitutional muster, Kansas attorney Kris Kobach, who helped draft the law, called the ruling "a big victory for Arizona," as reported by an Associated Press story carried on Tampa Bay Online.

That same story noted that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer "called the decision a victory for all Americans, saying that the law could now be enforced. …"

How unfortunate that this victory for law and order, states' rights and legal immigrants who play by the rules was not appreciated by the president of the United States, whose response was sad, but predictable.

After expressing his agreement with the minor points of the law struck down by the high court, President Obama said, "I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally."

Concerned? What is the president concerned about?

Is he concerned that, finally, border states like Arizona might have more tools to enforce the law?

Or is he concerned that the unsustainable drain on state budgets might finally be somewhat slowed?

Perhaps he is worried that the millions of people who are waiting to immigrate to the United States legally and through proper channels will not have to wait in line so long behind those who hold the law in contempt.

Unfortunately, none of those concerns — which represent the reality states like Arizona live with every day — are the president's concerns. The primary concern he gave voice to in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling was that police officers would now have the freedom to engage in "racial profiling."

The president continues to adhere to a belief system that puts federal domination over state sovereignty. And he doesn't retreat from that strongly held philosophy even when the Supreme Court sends the clearest of messages.

This was no partisan 5-4 decision. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously 8-0 (with Justice Kagan recusing herself) that the heart of the Arizona law requiring police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop for any reason is constitutional. That means Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayer and Breyer voted with the more conservative members to uphold the main component of Arizona's law.

It would be nice to believe that the unanimity of the court will have some bearing on the Obama administration's disregard for states' rights and his failure to understand the social and economic impacts of illegal immigration, not just on border states, but on our nation as a whole.

But instead, he already appears to be taking the opposite stance, quickly acting to negate the part of the law that was upheld and gutting the ability of police officers to act when they come upon illegal immigrants.

As Fox News reported, "By Monday afternoon, the Department of Homeland Security had pulled back on a program … which allows the feds to deputize local officials to make immigration-based arrests. According to a Homeland Security official, the administration has determined those agreements are 'not useful' now in states that have Arizona-style laws."

The battle will go on, as states try to find ways to do the job the Obama administration does not try, or want, to do.


Dennis Baxley is a Florida state representative from Ocala.
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