When Arizona passed SB 1070, allowing law enforcement officers to demand proof of legal U.S. residence from people detained for other legitimate reasons, the Obama administration acted quickly to challenge the constitutionality of that law in court (and won). Now that California’s Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the “Trust Act,” preventing illegal immigrants from being detained by the state for possible deportation by federal authorities unless they have committed a serious offense, a similar basis for federal intervention exists.
But a lawsuit from the Department of Justice is unlikely. President Barack Obama has already unilaterally–and, some contend, illegally and unconstitutionally–decided not to enforce some existing provisions of federal immigration law as it applies to so-called “Dreamers,” those brought to the country illegally as children. The Obama administration is still pushing for “comprehensive” immigration reform that would legalize most of those currently in the country illegally, and is only interested in federal powers that suit that end.
Gov. Brown also signed several other measures pertaining to illegal immigrants, summarized by the Los Angeles Times:
On Thursday, he approved a measure allowing immigrants in the country illegally to receive California driver’s licenses….Other bills signed Saturday will allow people in the country illegally to be licensed as lawyers, impose restrictions on those who charge a fee to help immigrants gain legal status, and make it a crime for employers to “induce fear” by threatening to report someone’s immigration status.
The message intended was clear: to press Washington to pass President Obama’s desired legislation. Twenty years ago, Californians passed Proposition 187, denying state services to illegal aliens; now, Democrats rule unimpeded by concerns about a populist backlash against permissive immigration laws. The state’s middle class is in flight, while the wealthy, the unions, and illegal immigrant groups work in concert to put the state’s resources at their disposal. In that dubious enterprise, they have the Obama administration as their ally.