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Yes, States May Restrict Illegal Aliens


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American Spectator:

MOBILE, Ala. -- Here in Alabama, Gov. Robert Bentley has just signed the nation's toughest immigration law, amidst the predictable cries from the Left that states don't have real authority of their own to enforce laws against illegal immigration. The information the professional Left hasn't yet processed is that the legal basis for its arguments continues to erode. The erosion continued earlier this week in a new, little-noticed action by the Supreme Court in a case called City of Hazleton v. Lozano -- the Pennsylvania dispute that made Hazleton's then-mayor Lou Barletta famous, and launched him towards a seat in Congress.

To understand the import of the Hazleton case, let's first set the scene, which is framed by another high court decision from just two weeks ago. When the Supreme Court ruled on May 26 in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting that the state of Arizona did not exceed its authority in denying business licenses from companies that knowingly employ illegals, the Left interrupted its outraged squawking to try to minimize the case's importance. On the one hand, the Left said the decision was an awful affront to federal executive power. On the other hand, it said the decision didn't mean much. The reach of the Whiting case was limited, argued the immediate revisionists, because it involved only business hiring rather than broader immigration enforcement, and because it turned on a specific clause in federal law giving states enforcement authority through business licensing.

Aside from that specific clause regarding business licenses, they said, and aside from the subject of employment, states, and localities still are not free to enforce immigration laws to an extent greater than the U.S. president (through his appointees) desires.snip
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