By: Warren County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Bruce McGary
Illegal immigration is a hot topic right now, as a result of Arizona’s recent passage of a law cracking down on illegal immigration there. Because federal immigration policy has failed, more and more states like Arizona are taking steps to protect their borders.
The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that there are 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and that illegal immigrants continue to outpace the number of legal immigrants. Studies show this is a trend that has held steady since the 1990’s. Most Americans believe the country is not doing enough to keep illegals from entering. Some refer to this as simply “anti-immigration” sentiment. I do not. The problem with illegal immigration is the “illegal” part of it, not the “immigration” part of it. That is, I have no objection to immigration (that’s how our forbearers came here) but I do have a problem with illegality. It’s a County Prosecutor’s job to enforce the law. That is really the crux of the matter for me-failure to enforce the law encourages citizens and non-citizens alike to believe they can ignore our laws with impunity. If the federal authorities are not going to enforce immigration laws, then states need to adopt legislation enabling state and local authorities to do so. Currently, in Warren County law enforcement is doing all we are permitted by law to do and that is to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement when illegal immigrants are booked into the County jail on other charges. Then it is up to the federal authorities to place on holder on an inmate in our jail and take custody of the inmate once released from jail or prison.
America is a land of freedom, but it can only remain that way if we protect our borders. People from all over the world come to America to seek freedom, but as a nation we must insist that they do so legally. Our nation is dependant on the rule of the law to protect our freedoms. The failure to enforce our immigration and naturalization laws is a direct threat to those freedoms because it undermines the rule of the law.