Department of Justice spokesperson Hannah August put it this way in an e-mail: "There's a difference between a state or locality saying they are not going to use their resources to enforce a federal law, as so-called sanctuary cities have done, and a state passing its own immigration policy that actively interferes with federal law. That's what Arizona did in this case, and we believe it is an unconstitutional interference with the federal government's prerogative to set and enforce immigration policy."
The DOJ has a point in arguing that the Arizona law's mandatory enforcement provision is likely to interfere with ICE's focus on deporting illegal immigrants with criminal convictions. The Washington Post reported Monday that under President Obama, deportations are on track to be 10 percent above the Bush administration's 2008 total.
Still, a patchwork is a patchwork. When a state wants to push immigration enforcement, that's interference. When cities that get federal funds choose to thwart enforcement, suddenly, it's a resource decision.
E-mail Debra J. Saunders at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Debra J. Saunders, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.