Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Taking a stand on illegal immigration

The Dayton Daily News reported yesterday that Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones and state Rep. Courtney Combs plan to ask legislators to back an immigration bill similar to Arizona’s.
Last year Rep. Combs (R-Hamilton) introduced a bill that would require employers to check the Social Security numbers of new employees to assure they are in the country legally. Combs said in May 2009 the bill about giving jobs to Americans and taking away a paycheck from illegal immigrants during tough economic times. Sheriff Jones said the bill also is about giving law enforcement more teeth to stop illegal immigrants with fake documents.

As introduced last year, the bill would require all public and private employers to check Social Security numbers against the federal government’s free E-Verify system before hiring someone. Their action comes as protests have erupted in Arizona, since the governor there signed an immigration bill into law last week. The bill makes being an illegal immigrant a state offense. Police can ask suspected illegals for documentation, and arrest them if they don’t have papers.

Opponents say the law will lead to rampant racial profiling and turn Arizona into a police state with provisions that require police to question people about their immigrant status. But supporters of the law, set to take effect in late July or August, say it is necessary to protect Arizonans from a litany of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

Arizonans have been putting up with illegal immigration on their border with Mexico, which consists straight lines mostly in the middle of desert. Their immigration bill can indeed make their state a police state, and thus is a setback for liberty; but Arizona cannot pass its own laws governing immigration. That power was delegated to the federal government by the Constitution; but Arizona does have the right to protect itself when the feds fail to perform the most basic function of border control.

Ohio shares a water border with Canada, which does not pose the kind of problems states face that are next to Mexico. I am in favor of strict enforcement of immigration laws, but it is not necessary for us to adopt such extreme measures here. A better idea would be for Ohio to pass some immigration enforcement laws that mirror the federal law, but enable county sheriffs and city police to enforce them as state law.

An even better idea would be for Congress to get off of carbon emissions taxes and handouts to Wall Street, and pass some reasonable immigration legislation -- but I suppose I am whistling into the wind.

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