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"What are ya gonna do now, Leander? The feds have the bomb."

-- Earl Long to Leander Perez

It's probably not the top priority in the Arkansas General Assembly these days, and maybe rightfully so. But passing a red-flag law doesn't seem to be a top priority, either, and might not be until something horrible happens. Does something horrible have to happen before Arkansas joins its neighbors in banning sanctuary cities? (Or, for that matter, passing red-flag laws?)

Senate Bill 411 by Gary Stubblefield sounds more like a "follow the law" law--that is, a reminder to cities around the state that the feds have the bomb. And cities can't go around changing immigration policy.

Well, they shouldn't be able to. If their state legislatures would have passed similar bills, there wouldn't be sanctuary cities in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Boston, Baltimore . . . .

Under SB411, Arkansas cities that skate around federal immigration rules and grant sanctuary--that is, by ordering their police not to report illegal aliens--would lose certain state funding. Under the bill, cities would not be allowed to prevent cops from asking about citizenship or immigration status, either.

Opposition is small, but vocal. Some are complaining about the loss of local control.

But this isn't a matter of local control. The federal government is in charge of immigration, as per Article I of the United States Constitution--more precisely, the clause about the feds being in charge of establishing a "uniform Rule of Naturalization." A cottage industry has evolved recently that questions whether that means "immigration," and whether the founders meant so, but we just know what the Supreme Court has ruled over and again: Immigration is a federal ballpark.

And this isn't just a matter of who can be the meanest to immigrants. Immigration isn't the issue. Illegal immigration is.

If there's little difference between illegal immigrants and the legal kind, why even have an immigration system at all? Or laws? It seems unfair to legal immigrants--who wait their turn and go through the system--if illegal immigrants get the same treatment under the law. In fact, that sounds a lot like the argument for those who favor a completely open border to the United States.

Sanctuary cities were in the news long before Donald Trump became president. Here is an opinion piece from a media source from back in the summer of 2015, when President Obama was in charge of the enforcing Congress' laws:

"For years, San Francisco law enforcement agencies have refused to work with federal immigration authorities, insisting that cooperation would subvert their efforts to cultivate good relations with the city's highly diverse immigrant communities. In practice, the city's sanctuary policy, applied blindly, subverts common sense by allowing dangerous criminals a free pass."

Fox News? The Washington Times? The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette?

No. That was the lede from a Washington Post editorial. This shouldn't be a red-state/blue-state, conservative/liberal issue. It should be a matter of constitutional jurisdiction.

La ley es la ley--the law is the law. Cities can't pick and choose which federal laws they follow. As arcane as those rules may sound to some, they're still rules.

Rather than every city going its own way, a better solution would be to fix this nation's long-broken immigration system. Or at least stitch it together in a halfway rational pattern. Build a wall. E-verify workers. Protect the so-called Dreamers. Allow those into this country who are good folks who can work, teach, heal and help. And do it all while being opposed by the habitual naysayers who wouldn't be themselves if they weren't standing in the way of reform.

And who should make these changes in the law?

The feds. That is, Congress.

Not city hall. Whether that city hall is in San Francisco or someplace closer to home.

Editorial on 04/09/2019

Print Headline: La ley es la ley


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  • Foghorn
    April 9, 2019 at 7:11 a.m.

    The writer and anyone who supports this bill are morons. The bill is stupid and unnecessary and, if passed, will result in LOCAL LE doing the work of Feds rather than enforcing local laws and fighting local crime. If you want your local cops spending all their time - and your tax dollars - profiling brown people rather than protecting you, your family and your property from actual crime, then this bill is for you.

  • Foghorn
    April 9, 2019 at 7:14 a.m.

    Where are the bills to force AR businesses to use eVerify on all employees to ensure they’re US citizens? Where are the bills to fine, sanction and possibly close businesses that employ those here illegally? The ledge has it’s collective head up its gaping anus, as usual, and this rag follows them up the hole.

  • Foghorn
    April 9, 2019 at 7:30 a.m.

    And while the author deigns to lecture on ‘the law is the law,’ how about telling that to your idiot POTUS who wants to defy Federal law to prevent asylum seekers from entering at legal checkpoints. I guess the law is only the law when it’s a law approved by morons like Trump.

  • GeneralMac
    April 9, 2019 at 11:21 a.m.


    Barack HUSSEIN Obama was no supporter of eVerify.

    When Alabama tried to enforce eVerify Barack HUSSEIN Obama singled out eVerify as the part of Alabama's proposed bill he opposed.

  • GeneralMac
    April 9, 2019 at 11:22 a.m.

    THREE posts by FOGHORN aupporting ILLEGALS.

    How patriotic of him !.........SARC

  • mozarky2
    April 9, 2019 at 1:03 p.m.

    SB411, TO PROHIBIT MUNICIPAL SANCTUARY POLICIES. a bill that would have banned sanctuary cities in Arkansas, failed to pass out of Arkansas House Committee on City, County & Local Affairs by 1 vote.
    Despite several people signed up to speak for an against the bill, only 1 person who spoke against the bill was allowed to go before the committee.
    Representative Carol Dalby (R) District 1 (Texarkana) walked out of the Committee before the vote was made.
    Representative Jana Della Rosa (R) District 90 (Rogers area) was never at the committee meeting.
    Representative Matthew J. Shepherd (R) (House Speaker) ( El Dorado) was also not present at the important committee meeting.
    Representative David Whitaker (D) District 85 Fayetteville area made multiple motions to end debate and any public comment. He acted as a further disgrace by threatening to call security on me when I confronted him on the issue.
    There is a chance that SB411 could be put before the full Arkansas House, but true reform on stopping illegal immigration will require voting out more democrats & Republicans in Name Only.
    During the last session, Asa Hutchinson spoke against a similar bill, and made "no opinion" on SB411.
    Della Rosa is my rep. I'll remember you, Jana. There are plenty of non-RINO people in this district to primary you.
    Not much I can do about that chickenschiff Whitaker, though. He IS from Fayettenam...