Our View: Standing as a nation of laws

Our View

“We are a nation of laws and not of men.”
– Widely credited to John Adams

Some readers have asked recently where The Signal stands on issues of sanctuary cities and other immigration topics. First, we’re grateful we don’t live in a sanctuary city and we applaud our city’s leaders for never venturing down that path in a gesture that could cost so much.

Second, we believe Los Angeles and other so-called sanctuary cities in California, along with state government’s puzzling president-defying stances, is unfairly inviting punishment upon its citizens.

We recognize that because we are in Los Angeles County, a sanctuary county, we could be subject to some reprisal as well.

It’s often said we are a nation founded on law, and the law clearly says the federal government is responsible for enforcing immigration policies. The feds have failed in that respect for longer than the Obama administration has been around, leaving the country vulnerable.

Now the voters have elected someone to the White House who does more than just promise to deal with the issue, and he is doing so. That’s as it should be. The system is working, although at times abruptly and with unnecessary personal cost.

That’s not to say we agree with specific policies such as singling people out to be banned by their faith or building costly border walls. But the borders both north and south have been too porous too long, and that needs to be dealt with before we become like the nations of Europe – victims of their failure to control and their own largesse.

The federal government is charged with doing just that, and we now have the expectation that it will do so.

Poking the lion through repeated public defiance seems foolhardy.

Remember six years ago when Arizona decided to take immigration law enforcement into its own hands and passed a law barring state and local officials or agencies from restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws?

That was in 2010, and two years later the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all but one of that law’s provisions as violations of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

Now imagine when federal agents show up in California to carry out deportations under the Trump policy. Are those defiant politicians going to lie down in the road before undocumented workers’ homes? Or will Washington simply halt funding to California? How long will the state last without federal grants and subsidies, and who will pay the price?

President Trump has indicated he would like to show mercy in cases such as those of the “Dreamer” generation, those brought to the country illegally as children, but it’s uncertain if he will or can. The many years of violating the law have caused problems that may not be solvable without casualties. We hope it won’t come to that.

The illegal immigration issues may eventually be solved by a new version of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which reformed U.S. immigration law, setting new standards for intolerance of illegal immigration but at the same time providing amnesty for those already in the country.

We hope the enforcement of immigration laws can be restored with a minimum of pain for otherwise law-abiding residents who have broken the law for so long their own countries would now seem foreign to them – and for their children who have known no other country than this.

But the fact remains that the law is the law, and we cannot stand against our own laws and expect to survive as a nation. Laws written by the peoples’ representatives are the foundation of our nation.

As we wrote in August regarding Proposition 64: “Approving our own right to violate the law seems to us the worst type of self-delusion.”

If our state leaders continue on their precipitous course defending the “rights” of California to defy federal law, we fear we, the state’s residents, will pay a steep price for their continued lawfulness.

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