Opinion

Commentary: Immigration reform must go through proper channels

The dean at the University of California, Davis, law school made a prediction in May about Arizona's immigration law (SB 1070). A court, he wrote, "will bar the law from being enforced" and it "will never go into effect."

Dean Kevin R. Johnson was right on the first count and likely also will be on the second. Just hours before the law was to take effect, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued an order preventing enforcement of key provisions until the court rules on the law's constitutionality. That's expected to take at least a year.

The judge's order was careful, not one-sided — blocking particular provisions, not the whole law. Arizona can enforce provisions that are consistent with federal law, but may not set its own immigration policies and change or violate federal laws.

The power to regulate immigration rests with the federal government — preventing a patchwork of state and local immigration policies. When states disagree with federal immigration policies, the proper course is to go to Congress to get changes.

And that is what is needed now. The protesters, on all sides, need to turn their attention to the nation's Capitol.

The judge's order stopped the first pillar of Arizona's law — a new statewide mandatory alien inspection scheme — which, the judge wrote, burdens individuals lawfully in this country: "All arrestees will be required to prove their immigration status to the satisfaction of state authorities, thus increasing the intrusion of police into the lives of legally present aliens (and even U.S. citizens), who will necessarily be swept up by this requirement."

To read the complete editorial, visit www.sacbee.com.

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