Before Friday night's DACA-gutting immigration bill was passed in the House, rookie Majority Whip, Steve Scalise (R-La.) had been getting pounced on by the liberal media for his “inability” to push wavering House Republicans into getting something out the door before the recess-break. Ever since the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill was introduced last year, the media has claimed that it's Republican intransigence that is obstructing immigration and border security “reform.”
Whether true or not, it’s important to point out that this has never been the case for our conservative representatives at the state and local-level. In 2007 alone they introduced over 1,500 immigration bills in state assemblies across the nation with 240 being enacted into law. They’ve been just as busy since, probably because they’ve had to. The problems from decades of open-borders faced by state and local governments are getting ever closer to crisis-proportions. Given that Friday’s much improved bill will surely not survive the Senate’s or Obama’s chopping block, it may be time to reassess what our representatives at the state-level can and have been doing to deliver true patriotic immigration reform.
In a newly published book of academic essays about state-level immigration regulation, Strange Neighbors, immigration law guru Kris Kobach declares that “every state is a border state now.” Indeed, immigration-induced problems are the “new normal” for most state governments which will be compounded by a perennially underperforming national economy and budget-busting pension and welfare obligations. Drawing on Milton Friedman’s statement that “you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state,” Kobach reminds us that “[a] massive influx of individuals who either pay very little in income taxes or evade income taxes entirely, but consume public services at a relatively high rate, is costly for any receiving state.” This is clearly seen in the predominately Democrat-run “sanctuary cities,” which have some of the most unstable governments in the nation.
Despite the flurry of state and local bills over the past few years, states have been restrained from regulating immigration where it really hurts: education costs. It’s now estimated that around 50 percent of the increase in the national school-age population going forward will come from illegal aliens. But in the landmark 1982 decision of Plyer v. Doe, statutes denying free education for illegal alien children were deemed unconstitutional by a bare majority of the Supreme Court. In a display of ignorance startling even for liberals, then-Chief Justice William Brennan wrote for the court that “few if any illegal immigrants come to this country… in order to avail themselves of a free education.” On the contrary, says John Eastman, constitutional lawyer and fellow contributor to Strange Neighbors, a free top-notch education is “one of the three great magnets” for illegal aliens to come across our border – the others being employment and birthright citizenship.
According to Brennan in the Plyer decision, the statute in question (which originated from Texas) was struck down because “the record in no way supports the claim that exclusion of undocumented children is likely to improve the overall quality of education in the State.” Although there may not have been a lot of data available to counsel for Texas then, that was over 30 years ago and we now have a ton of statistics on education costs from illegal immigration. According to a 2010 report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the largest cost of illegal immigration to states today is, in fact, education. Just in Arizona that year alone, it cost taxpayers close to $1.5 billion. It now looks likely that what was missing for Brennan can now be met.
In 2011, Alabama attempted to build such a challenge to Plyer. It enacted a law that sought to gather information on education costs of illegal aliens and how it affected state-wide education in general. Although it sought to merely gather data, the statute was immediately challenged by treasonous lawfare groups, like the SPLC and ACLU, and implementation of the law has been delayed. But for states hoping to turn off the education magnet, Alabama’s efforts are instructive.
Since Plyer, Eastman reminds us, the Supreme Court has made some positive shifts towards states’ rights, as seen in such cases as US v. Lopez, US v. Morrison and Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting. It is hoped patriotic state legislators and attorneys general across the nation will follow Alabama and take up similar legislative initiatives. Considering our congress is compromised and our president wants the borders erased, it may be our only hope.
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