A New York Times editorial spoke to the sorry result of Congress’s inability to make any effort in the last year to reform immigration. According to the article, “A country that has abandoned all efforts at creating a saner immigration policy has gotten the results it deserves; not one policy but lots of little ones, acting at cross purposes and nullifying one another.”
State after state is taking up immigration issues, many acting in contravention of the Constitution, because of this Congressional inaction. These range from issuing driver’s licenses to the undocumented to exclusionary bills before state legislatures.
The president was pushed into a limited executive action on immigration reform when John Boehner failed to get even his own modest immigration proposal through the House of Representatives. Then 26 states sued to block the president, with fourteen other states filing briefs supporting executive action. This, in an area of law that the Supreme Court has said is exclusively a Federal power since the 19th Century, has led to a war between the states over immigration.
A conflict between the states and the Federal government, and among the states themselves, has arisen because Congress failed to resolve this matter when it had the chance two years ago. Now, with the presidential primary season getting underway, we already see some elected officials moving away from their earlier more moderate views on immigration and towards opinions that cater to the worst instincts of primary voters.
I don’t expect Congress to do anything positive in immigration law this year. Instead of policies, we will just get politics from the people who should be securing America’s future.