Posted by Lambchop
Scalia's Dissent in Arizona V. United States is priceless. Note that Scalia took a paragraph to comment on Obama's latest "ruling by fiat" to allow specific illegal immigrants to stay in the United States without threat of deportation:
The brief for the Government in this case asserted that “the Executive Branch’s ability to exercise discretion and set priorities is particularly important because of the need to allocate scarce enforcement resources wisely.” Brief for United States 21. Of course there is no reason why the Federal Executive’s need to allocate its scarce enforcement resources should disable Arizona from devoting its resources to illegal immigration in Arizona that in its view the Federal Executive has given short shrift. Despite Congress’s prescription that “the immigration laws of the United States should be enforced vigorously and uniformly,” IRCA §115, 100 Stat. 3384, Arizona asserts without contradiction and with supporting citations: “[I]n the last decade federal enforcement efforts have focused primarily on areas in California and Texas, leaving Arizona’s border to suffer from comparative neglect. The result has been the funneling of an increasing tide of illegal border crossings into Arizona. Indeed, over the past decade, over a third of the Nation’s illegal border crossings occurred in Arizona.” Brief for Petitioners 2–3 (footnote omitted).
Must Arizona’s ability to protect its borders yield to the reality that Congress has provided inadequate funding for federal enforcement—or, even worse, to the Executive’s unwise targeting of that funding? But leave that aside. It has become clear that federal enforcement priorities—in the sense of priorities based on the need to allocate “scarce enforcement resources”—is not the problem here. After this case was argued and while it was under consideration, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immigration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants under the age of 30. If an individual unlawfully present in the United States
“• came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
“• has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years . . . ,
“• is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran . . . ,
“• has not been convicted of a [serious crime]; and
“• is not above the age of thirty,”5 then U. S. immigration officials have been directed to “defe[r] action” against such individual “for a period of two years, subject to renewal.”
The husbanding of scarce enforcement resources can hardly be the justification for this, since the considerable administrative cost of conducting as many as 1.4 million background checks, and ruling on the biennial requests for dispensation that the non-enforcement program envisions, will necessarily be deducted from immigration enforcement. The President said at a news conference that the new program is “the right thing to do” in light of Congress’s failure to pass the Administration’s proposed revision of the Immigration Act.7 Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the Immigration Act that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind.