The Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision on the Arizona immigration law and while liberals across the nation are celebrating victory, they have not truly understood the implications for Sanctuary Cities. The nation's highest court struck down three of the four key provisions of the law, including the parts which required immigrants to carry immigration papers and for an illegal immigrant to seek work in Arizona. The court also struck down the provision that "gave the police authority to arrest immigrants for crimes that may lead to deportation." The only part of the law that the court upheld was the right of police to check the immigration status of people involved in lawful stops when there is a reasonable suspicion that they may be in the country illegally.
While the liberal Democrats applaud the ruling, they may have not fully thought the decision through. Those who claim victory are only seeing the decision through the prism of a Democratic President, without thinking of what will happen when a Republican sits in the White House. Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy stated that a "state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law," but what will this mean when Barack Obama ceases to decide federal law and a Republican President does?
Just as President Obama has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to stop deportations of certain illegal immigrants, a Republican president can order those same people deported. Liberals have not thought about what it means when the shoe is on the other foot. For instance, if the Republicans gain control of Congress and the White House, they will have the legal authority to make whatever immigration laws they like.
And with the decision handed down today, the court has determined that federal immigration law overrides any state of local law. Writing further, Justice Kennedy added, "Federal law makes a single sovereign responsible for maintaining a comprehensive and unified system to keep track of aliens within the nation's borders." And that if one state could decide immigration practices, then "every state could give itself independent authority...".
This means that if the state of Arizona could not create a statute that involves federal immigration law, then other states (or cities) cannot either. In other words, since immigration policy is up to the federal government, no state, county, or city can pass statues that concern federal immigration lawsÂ—either for or against.
Therefore, it seems that the so-called "Sanctuary Cities," that have sprung up across the nation would also be illegal under this ruling. And since the President has already demonstrated his willingness to disregard federal laws when they do not suit him, it is unlikely that the federal government under President Obama will be enforcing this part of the decision.
But if Mitt Romney wins the election in November, then federal laws, especially those affecting the mostly Democratic immigrant community, may be enforced with much more aplomb. What will those in "Sanctuary Cities" do when the newly revitalized ICE agents come knocking at the door? After all, "Sanctuary Cities" are an area of concentration for those in the country illegally.
The truth may be that how the decision by Supreme Court of the United States actually affects the immigrant community relies entirely on the person sitting in the White House.