Friday, July 30, 2010

Immigration Law Sanity

Robert Robb has done a nice job interpreting the court decision here.

"Instead, state legislators sought to set up separate state immigration crimes and a separate state system of punishment. Instead of turning over immigration violators to federal officials, they could be charged, prosecuted and incarcerated in the state system.

This was a dumb idea on two fronts. First, it clearly infringed on federal prerogatives regarding the regulation of immigration and invited the legal challenge Bolton has preliminarily upheld. But more importantly, why should state taxpayers pick up the tab for prosecuting and incarcerating illegal immigrants? Why is that a good idea?

Legislators then compounded their poor judgment with even poorer execution.

The most egregious example of SB 1070's poor draftsmanship was the adoption by reference of the federal requirement that immigration papers be carried at all times. Bolton enjoined that provision, but needn't have bothered. The bill itself nullifies the violation by saying that it doesn't apply to anyone in the United States legally – in other words, to anyone who would have papers to carry in the first place.

The most consequential instance of poor draftsmanship is the provision forbidding the release of anyone 'arrested' until their immigration status is determined. Taken literally, which is the way legislation should be interpreted, this would have outlawed the cite-and-release approach law enforcement takes for most minor offenses. Such people are technically “arrested.” Mercifully, Bolton enjoined this provision before the havoc and confusion it would have wreaked was unleashed."

If there was ever a reason not to vote for Janet Brewer, this was it. In my cynical view, it seems that while the Arizona state budget is going down the toilet and our schools are in desperate need for an overhaul, she decided to play political games with a complex and difficult to solve immigration issue that only served as a distraction.

Terry Goddard deserves more than a second look:

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