In what is developing into a standoff between states and the federal government that could be bigger than gun control or even health care, 17 states have launched versions of Arizona’s immigration law, even as federal officials say they may not bother to process illegal aliens caught by the states.
William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, which has been trying to get officials to address the open southern border for years, warned the consequences could be dire.
“Over the last couple days, Obama and the chief of ICE have refused to honor their oaths of office,” he said. “Their constitutional requirement is to enforce existing laws.
“They’ve told the American public to go eat cake,” he said.
His organization is assembling the list of state efforts to emulate the Arizona law, which makes it illegal under state as well as federal law to be in the state without documentation.
“Seventeen states are now filing versions of Arizona’s SB 1070, which is designed to help local police enforce America’s existingimmigration laws,” ALIPAC said in a report today.
The report said numerous national and local polls indicate 60 to 81 percent of Americans support local police enforcing immigrationlaws.
“Our national network of activists have been working overtime trying to help the state of Arizona and the brave Arizonans who have passed this bill,” he said. “Arizona no longer stands alone and we have now documented state lawmakers filing, or announcing they will file, versions of the Arizona bill in seventeen states! We will not stop until all states are protected from invasion as required by the U.S. Constitution.”
Gheen said the states where some form of immigration crackdown is under development include Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
President Obama several times has said he doesn’t like the Arizona law. He’s called it misguided and ordered a review by the Justice Department.
John Morton, who heads the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, said his agency might not process illegal aliens caught under state jurisdiction, the Chicago Tribune reported.
He insisted that only the federal government should respond to the problem.
“I don’t think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution,” Morton said.
One blogger expressed concern that “a senior Homeland Security official has openly declared that he won’t be doing his job.”
“Morton has sworn an oath to uphold the laws of the United States. He is not allowed to pick and choose which ones he likes and which he doesn’t.”
Gheen said the Arizona law and the plans it has spawned in other states is a victory for Americans. But he said those are just battles, and winning the war will require success in elections this fall.
A “comprehensive” solution to the problem will arrive when there are enough “hostile” members of Congress to tell the administration to uphold the existing immigration and border laws or the impeachments will start, he said.
“[We need to send] to Washington a hostile Congress that is going to encircle the executive branch and tell them to [follow the law] or we’ll impeach all the way down to the speaker of the House,” he said.
Gheen said he is alarmed over the pending release, expected sometime just before the election, of a movie called “Machete,” which reportedly is the story of a Mexican uprising in the United States.
Gheen said the message in the movie reportedly is that Americans will either submit to the “rape” of their land or else.
He said he believes the project is intended to create turmoil just as the mid-term elections draw near.
“There is nothing as important right now as getting [people] fully involved with all the campaigns,” he said.
ALIPAC already has helped to pass some form of immigration enforcement legislation in more than 30 states. And Gheen has developed a national reputation for defeating socially progressive plans to hand out licenses, in-state tuition and other taxpayer benefits to illegal aliens.
“It is incumbent upon our states to protect American lives, property, jobs, wages, security, and health, when the executive branch fails to honor its constitutional responsibility to do so by enforcing our existing border and immigration laws,” he said.
The Arizona law, which strictly prohibits racial profiling, empowers local police to enforce immigration laws.
To monitor the growing number of states considering similar legislation, ALIPAC utilizes a public forum in which members can update the organization with news articles and other information from states where the push for an Arizona-like law is making headway.
In Arizona’s neighboring state Utah, for example, Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, reportedly is drafting a bill that would similarly require immigrants to carry proof of status and require law enforcement officers to check for it.
“Utah is seen as state that welcomes illegal immigrants. We almost encourage it with driving privilege cards and in-state tuition for illegals,” Sandstrom told the Salt Lake Tribune. “With Arizona making the first step in this direction, Utah needs to pass a similar law or we will see a huge influx of illegals. The real issue is just establishing a rule of law in our state.”
Across the country in Maryland, Baltimore’s WBAL-TV reported earlier that State Delegate Patrick McDonough, R-Baltimore County, is drafting a bill identical to Arizona’s. He’s also planning to poll his fellow legislators before the bill is filed.