Trent Franks is a Republican House member from Arizona and a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Opposition to Arizona’s new immigration law—including, most notably, the Obama administration’s shameful decision to sue Arizona—is grounded, at best, in ignorance of the bill and, at worst, in intentional misrepresentations of the law. Unfortunately, I believe the latter describes the administration.
They have said the law promotes racial profiling, yet the law specifically prohibits racial profiling. The president has suggested the law requires noncitizens to carry “papers” that they otherwise wouldn’t have to. But federal law has required noncitizens to carry identification for over 50 years.
Now, the administration claims the law pre-empts federal responsibility, but the Constitution is clear. Article I, Section 8, gives Congress “the power to ... establish a uniform rule of naturalization.” As the Supreme Court held in INS v. Chadha, “The plenary authority of Congress over aliens ... is not open to question.” And Congress has regularly encouraged states to be involved in immigration control.
The executive branch (i.e., the Obama administration) exists to enforce the law, not subvert it or apply only what it finds agreeable. But, as is so frequently the case, this administration’s motivations have everything to do with political posturing and blind dedication to a dangerously misguided ideology and little to do with defending the U.S. Constitution and protecting Americans’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
From the outset, this administration has publicly distorted the Arizona law. Shortly after the law was introduced, both Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano railed against it. Napolitano called the bill “misguided” and “bad enforcement law”; Holder (ostensibly the top legal mind in our nation, given his title) called the bill “unfortunate” and said the Department of Justice was considering a lawsuit. Both were later forced to admit that they had not actually read the bill, which is barely over 10 pages long.
In other words, this administration was willing to sue Arizona, potentially harming the state’s reputation and its economy to the tune of millions of dollars, based on a falsification of what the bill says. Even more bewildering is the president’s willingness to deliberately incite a false racial division in America, in a desperate attempt to strengthen his popularity among his increasingly skeptical, ever-dwindling base.
His plan, of course, backfired dramatically. His approval rating in Arizona has fallen to a dismal 28 percent. Meanwhile, 61 percent of Americans support enactment in their state of a law like Arizona’s, while only 28 percent oppose the idea.
Indeed, it seems the president has a lot of work on his hands if he wants to sue every state that tries to enforce immigration laws. Nine states have filed a legal brief defending Arizona’s efforts and at least five states have already introduced similar laws. At the risk of understating the matter: President Obama is wildly out of touch with Americans’ concerns.
Border security isn’t just about immigration; it’s about the far greater issue of national security. Mexican authorities recently arrested Jameel Nasr, a member of Hezbollah who had been tasked with forming a terrorist cell to perpetrate attacks on Israel and the West. Nasr was arrested in Tijuana, near the San Diego border. Just one nuclear weapon or other weapon of mass destruction provided to such terrorists by a rogue nation like Iran and smuggled over our porous southern border would instantly change the world as we know it. While Americans understand this, the Obama administration does not.