We find it somewhat ironic that the very week a federal judge essentially gutted an Arizona law aimed at arresting illegal immigrants and turning them over to federal authorities, one of our neighboring communities here in North Carolina has announced it will begin helping federal authorities enforce immigration laws.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office will begin working with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Secure Communities program in August.
The way the program works is simple — if someone is arrested and charged with a crime, and he cannot show he is a legal residents of the United States, that person’s fingerprints are sent to ICE. If the person is found to be in the country illegally, then when the local justice system has finished the case regarding the original arrest, the person is turned over to federal authorities for deportation.
In the case of the Arizona law, which was about to go into effect, local and state law enforcement workers there would be required to check the immigration status of anyone who was arrested if those officers had reason to suspect the person was in the country illegally.
In issuing a temporary injunction against enforcement of the law, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton seemed to cast doubt on efforts such as those about to begin in Forsyth County.
“Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked,” Bolton wrote.
We fail to see a significant difference in what Arizona was proposing and what Forsyth is about to begin doing.
Bolton also seemed to effectively undercut any efforts — by local, state, or federal officials to enforce some portions of existing immigration law — when she stopped provisions of the law that banned illegal immigrants from soliciting employment in public places.
Let us restate that: Judge Bolton ruled against the law enforcement’s right to ban illegal immigrants from soliciting employment in public places. While the United States is suffering from double-digit jobless rates among citizens and legal residents, illegal immigrants can now stand in the town square and openly solicit jobs?
Something seems wrong about all of this.
We hope somewhere along the line a judge, or a panel of judges, have the good sense to overrule Bolton’s injunction and restore the Arizona law.