Laws Enforcing Immigration Policies Only Allowed at Federal Level

I just heard about this in passing today, and I’m posting just to ask for more information, but I figure it’s likely to turn GD if many people post comments to the thread at all, that’s why I’ve posted here instead of in GQ.

Anyway, my question is, do I understand correctly that a judge has determined that laws enforcing immigration policies can only be made at the federal level, and not at the state or local level?

If I do understand that correctly, my follow up question is, what’s the basis for this? If a law is permissible at federal level, why would it not be permissible at lower levels?

I’d provide a link except what I’ve just typed above is everything I have heard about this story, so I’m having a hard time finding links.


Perhaps this is the story you’re thinking of?

The decision last week was in regards to two ordinances in Hazleton, PA fining landlords and employers of illegal immigrants. You can read about it on the ACLU’s site at:

The ruling is also available:

Since the ACLU was a plaintiff in the case and also because they hate America I admit it’s not the best source for unbiased information, but I don`t have any other links. The ruling I’m sure is reproduced verbatim.

The ruling focuses on federal pre-emption starting on page 91. But the short answer is that the judge did not per se rule that state and local laws could not address immigration issues. The federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 expressly pre-empts state and local laws on immigration control. So the judge didn’t decide it, congress did. In 1986, if not earlier.

All the judge ruled was that the supremacy clause in the U.S. constitution requires that federal laws be supreme to state and local laws.

Congress could have chosen not to pre-empt state laws - States are permitted to have their own minimum wage laws as long as the minimum is higher than the federal minimum. They just didn`t do that in regards to immigration laws.

Could you please provide a cite for your comment that I bolded?

Pretty much everything they’ve ever done. You might ask yourselve why the ACLU didn’t sue any of the cities which have declared themselves sanctuaries for illegals if they’re really so concerned about federal law overriding state and local law. Gaming the court system is one of the ways the left subverts democracy.

Even when it’s a catch-and-release game, it’s best not to rise to the bait.

Of course you’re right. Forgot where I was for a bit. Thanks.

Well I, for one, was joking.

I wasn’t.

The ACLU isn’t concerned about the supremacy of Federal law over State and local law. They are concerned about protecting civil liberties in this country.

No, they are concerned with promoting a radical left agenda in the guise of protecting civil liberties.

Only certain civil liberties that align with their leftist political agenda. They love the hell out of the First Amendment, but they have decided that ‘people’ in the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to the same people as ‘people’ in the First.

Tomato, Tomahto. But surely we can agree they’re not generally concerned with fighting for preemption of federal laws. So that “you might ask yourself why the ACLU doesn’t sue sanctuary cities” line doesn’t really make sense. Why would anyone ask themselves that and not immediately answer “because it’s not part of their stated agenda”?

No, the line makes sense because it points out the fundamental hypocrisy of liberals who want the law scrupulously enforced when the law jibes with their ideology and ignored when it doesn’t.

I’m not convinced that civil liberties constitute an ideology.

Even so, it sounds like you just have an objection to the ACLU’s agenda. So they don`t generally pursue cases involving federal preemption. Why would they? Where is the hypocrisy?

Is the NRA hypocritical for not defending the first amendment in court? How about AARP? Maybe they should sue anyone who infringes on the first amendment? Of course not, because thats not what they exist to do. It’s not ‘hypocritical’.

Just briefly skimming through the court decision, I was downright shocked to see that anyone who wants to rent an apartment in that town would have had to apply to the city for an “occupancy permit.” (This was done so illegal aliens couldn’t get a permit, and therefore couldn’t rent an apartment… riiiiight.)

I think this may be the first time I’ve ever seriously said this, but good Lord, is this illegal immigration issue so damn serious that we have to adopt laws that echo those of Soviet Russia that require law-abiding people to submit to a bureaucracy in order to choose where to live? That is disgusting.

Thanks for reminding me my ACLU and NRA memberships both need a renewal pretty soon.

As for the thread, the basis for the decision seems sound at least. The supremacy of Federal law isn’t nearly as important to the judgement (based on the quotes) as the civil rights and due process issues raised. As it should be.

Such laws are common in Europe. In Germany, for example, you are expected to register with the local police whenever you move into a new town or neighborhood. And, yes, the illegal immigration issue is that damn serious. We are in real danger of destabilizing our society if we allow uncontrolled immigration to continue.

The difference is that the NRA and the AARP are up front about what they’re doing and what they’re after. The ACLU claims they’re only defending civil liberties as set forth in the Constitution when in fact they’re using civil liberties as a cover for radical political and social changes and use the courts to bypass any sort of actual democratic process. It’s not terrribly different from racial supremacists claiming to be concerned about state’s rights when in fact what they’re promoting is racial supremacy.

So, you side with the socialists in Europe who like laws in which a person has to register to live in a given city, but disagree with socialists in the US (principally the ACLU) who think that a person should have the freedom to choose where they live without asking permission from the government. :slight_smile:

Out of curiosity, what’s your position on gun registration/licensing?