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States Have a Responsibility Related to Enforcing Immigration Laws

Updated on September 15, 2019

Immigration is a hot topic these days with the number of illegal immigrants believed to be in this country and federal enforcement of immigration laws that only touch the surface. Today there are battles on the immigration front between state enforcement and federal enforcement which have culminated in court cases filed by the government. Granted enforcement of these laws primarily is the federal government responsibility as defined in the Constitution.

The fact that immigration enforcement is the responsibility of the federal government should not prevent local police from enforcing immigration laws. Some of the advantages of local enforcement lie in the fact they are on the ground every day and can react more quickly than the federal government. Another reason why local police should enforce these laws involve the safety of citizens they are sworn to protect. If they are not allowed to enforce immigration laws, they are prevented from having all the authority they need to keep their neighbors and citizens of their state safe. There have been cases where agreements were generated by the federal government in allowing local enforcement of immigration laws.

The current court battles over legislation passed by states related to immigration issues and whether they have the authority to create such legislation will be decided by the Supreme Court. Specifically the case involving the actions of Arizona will have far reaching effects if the court sides with Arizona and not the federal government. States have a responsibility to protect all their citizens and whether that means they need to enforce immigration laws, they should have the right to do so. Situations can change instantly involving illegal immigrants and though the federal government may have ICE agents in the area, they cannot respond as quickly as local law enforcement entities.

Another aspect which does not get much attention is the need to ensure that employees working for a company in any state have the right to work in this country. This can be a result of being born in the United States or having a work visa. Companies who hire employees must validate an individual’s eligibility to work and states and the federal government must work together in these instances. Typically when a raid at a company related to employees being illegal immigrants, it takes local law enforcement resources and ICE to conduct such activity.

In summary local police must have all the tools and authority available to them to protect their citizens. There are many federal laws which states now enforce and it makes no sense why immigration should be different. While the federal government has certain responsibilities, it often utilizes the resources of states to support the actions needed. Our country is large and while there are central functions within the federal government, it cannot do everything with the resources they have. This is why local police should enforce federal immigration laws along with other federal laws as they are nee ded or they have a state responsibility in conjunction with federal laws.


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