The bill never gained traction in North Carolina, at least in part because of unique short-session rules which makes it difficult for anything other than budget-related legislation to be considered.
East said he knew that going in, but he wanted the bill on the table to get some attention, and hopefully some momentum, for next year.
Now he has another obstacle, but curiously it comes from our own federal government.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against the Arizona law, claiming it was unconstitutional because it infringes upon the federal government’s right to enforce immigration law.
This claim seems preposterous. There is nothing in the law which precludes the federal government from enforcing such laws. Quite the opposite is true. The Arizona legislation calls for state and local law enforcement officials, when confronted with someone in the country illegally, to arrest that person, prosecute them under the state law, and then when that case has run its course to turn the person over to federal authorities.
Quite frankly, if the federal government had been enforcing immigration law — and while the Obama administration may be the worst offender in recent memory on this issue, none of the previous three administrations have been particularly adept at enforcing these laws — Arizona would never have had to pass this bill.
And Sen. East would not have had cause to introduce his measure in North Carolina.
Most assuredly, whatever direction the court takes now will determine if East reintroduces the bill next year. We hope the courts have the good sense to find the Arizona bill is, in fact, constitutional. And then we hope East will pursue this measure in North Carolina next year.