Do the editors of the L.A. Times realize that illegal immigration is, you know, illegal? I wonder when I read editorials like this:
It’s getting ugly out there for illegal immigrants. States and cities are cracking down with harsh new ordinances, and the courts are upholding them. Not only are deportations at record highs, but immigrants are being detained at places previously understood to be off-limits, such as schools. The debate about illegal immigration, labor, social justice and international trade has devolved into open season on illegal immigrants.
Arizona penalizes employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, suspending their business license for 10 days for the first offense, revoking it permanently for the second. Valley Park in Missouri fines businesses that hire illegal immigrants. Oklahoma not only forbids their hiring and bars them from receiving tax-supported services — except healthcare — it also makes it a felony for anyone to transport, shelter or conceal illegal immigrants.
Sounds reasonable to me. Not to the editors, who equate one court decision upholding such laws with the Dred Scott decision:
It’s nothing new for states and municipalities to try to regulate immigration. California pioneered that trail in 1994 with the passage of Proposition 187, which sought to discourage illegal immigration by denying noncitizens a range of public services. Last year, Hazleton, Pa., caught the nation’s attention when it tried to criminalize landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and deny business permits to companies that hire them. Until recently, however, the courts stood as a bulwark against this spate of angry — and often unconstitutional — ordinances, ruling that immigration is federal territory.
Not anymore. In Arizona, Missouri and Oklahoma, business groups or immigration advocates sued to block the new laws, and in each case federal judges upheld them. The Oklahoma ruling is particularly pernicious. With the spirit of Dred Scott hovering over his pen, Judge James H. Payne wrote that illegal immigrants do not have the right to sue: “An illegal alien, in willful violation of federal immigration law, is without standing to challenge the constitutionality of a state law, when compliance with federal law would absolve the illegal alien’s constitutional dilemma.”
Unfortunately, Payne’s dehumanizing tone echoes the callous treatment that too often is accorded illegal immigrants.
No, he simply recognizes that they are illegal. I’d like to think that maybe the spirit of Dred Scott really was hovering over his pen — whispering “I didn’t have a choice, but these people do” — when the judge wrote this:
[C]uriously absent from [the illegal alien plaintiffs'] voluminous complaint is any challenge to the federal laws rendering their presence in this country illegal. Instead, these Plaintiffs seemingly concede the validity of the federal immigration laws, and file this suit in order to remove any barriers the state of Oklahoma has erected to their continued violation of those federal laws. These illegal alien Plaintiffs seek nothing more than to use this Court as a vehicle for their continued unlawful presence in this country. To allow these Plaintiffs to do so would make this Court an “abetter of iniquity” and this Court finds that simply unpalatable.
Is the judge “callous” and “dehumanizing” here? Or is he demonstrating rare common sense?
You make the call!