IAUSA Irish Apostolate

An Immigrant's Musings - August 2012

Supreme Court Rules 


As I have stated in the past, my musings in this space are often a response to what has already happened. I do, however, respond to questions from my gentle readers. One such question I recently received was: "Now that the supreme court has struck down most of Arizona's immigration law, where does that leave us?"


In answering this question, first I'd like to quote from Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion:

"The National Government has significant power to regulate immigration. With power comes responsibility, and the sound exercise of national power over immigration depends on the Nation's meeting its responsibility to base its laws on a political will informed by searching, thought­ful, rational civic discourse. Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law."


So, here is how I read the Supreme Court decision, it changes nothing. It importantly clarifies that responsibility to regulate our immigration laws resides with the federal government. This clarification is important because a number of other states have also tried to fix the problem of illegal immigration in ways that are similar to Arizona's efforts. To allow the individual states in the union to have a multiplicity of immigration laws would make no sense whatever.


This decision also points out something that has been blatantly obvious to most people for a long time, namely, that the Nation =(The Federal Government) has failed in its responsibility to exercise its powers to mend a broken system. Arizona's frustration is understandable and whatever side of the isle our elected officials sit, they are the people with whom the blame lies.


Also, Justice Kennedy's pointing to the Government's responsibility that it form laws based; "on a political will informed by searching, thought­ful, rational civic discourse" is a clear reminder to our elected officials and national commentators, of the urgent need, to return to a genuine process of consensus building legislation that is based not on the whims of looking to the next election cycle, but to the long term and common good of the Nation.


The one part of the law that survived the Supreme Court, "the show me your papers" provision, is worrisome. The question that most sensible people are asking is: how do police officers know who is here legally or not by simply looking at a person? If this is not an invitation to racial profiling, then let someone please explain that to me! Surely, we are capable of writing better laws that this. 




Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous 19th-century poet and artist, was once approached by an elderly man.


The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent. Rossetti looked over them carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless but Rossetti was a kind man, he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man. The man was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti's judgment. The old man then apologized for taking up Rossetti's time, but asked him to look at a few more drawings. Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed. "These," he said, "Oh, these are good." "This young student has a great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement. He has a great future." Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved. "Who is this fine young artist?" he asked, "Your son?" "No," said the old man sadly. "It is me  - 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up - too soon." 

Author Unknown





Should you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at:  sliabhanoir@yahoo.com or 773-282-8445


Fr. Michael Leonard

Chicago Irish Immigrant Support





YOU CAN FIND FR. LEONARD'S "MUSINGS" FOR THIS PAST YEAR ON THE CHICAGO IRISH IMMIGRANT SUPPORT WEBSITE:  http://ci-is.com/monthly-articles/an-immigrant-s-musings/  



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