Federalism In America

How does Federalism affect the issue of immigration?

Federalism and Immigration Policies in the U.S.

Federalism entails that power is split between the national government and the states, and then again into local areas and counties. Immigration is an interesting issue because it greatly affects states, but it is an issue that is primarily handled by the government and some of its agencies (such as the Department of Homeland Security through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and through the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.) States often attempt to make policies regarding immigration with varying success, depending upon infringement of national regulations. Local government actually has a big impact on almost every issue regarding immigration as it is what often deals with the matter head-on.
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Important Issues and Topics

How does Federalism tie into these?

Well...here's how.

Arizona, in passing SB 1070, "overstepped" it's boundaries in our federal system. This is due to what is known as the supremacy clause. This states that federal law supersedes state law should they somehow come into conflict with one another. Judges must rule by the federal law's constraints rather than the state one. In this case federal law removed many of the provisions of SB 1970 essentially rendering it ineffective and a shell of itself (which may be for the better, the law was very questionable to begin with and fringed on constitutionality.). So as can be seen, power is typically distributed evenly between these two entities, but the federal government does reserve some power in certain areas that require such treatment. Interestingly enough though, blanket policies are not always the best strategy, as some states are more impacted by certain enactments than others.

Obama (being the president) is seen as the representative of the people and our federal government as a whole, but nonetheless there was much contention as a result of this executive order. Despite political standpoints, many called into question the constitutionality of creating such change without any say from the states or congress. This makes us, again, look at the federal layout of our government. We see power divided between the federal government and states (and, similarly, it is even split up at the federal level between the branches.) In any case, whether or not the president has overstepped his own boundaries with this order, we will soon see. Our federal system must mediate power and figure out if the consensus is actually with the president in this issue. Even at the federal governmental level the states are all represented in congress via senators and house members, so here we, in a way, see the states controlling power in the nation to come to a final decision begun by the executive of our nation.

While local government is perhaps less empowered compared to state and central government in the federal system, it makes a great many decisions on several issues and policies that are simply too intricate for larger government to make. It regulates a lot of things that would otherwise be blanketed by larger government policy, and this would cause a lot of issues and many would be unsatisfied. For instance, in this case with Enrique Arias Idelfonso, the illegal, it is the local police force that arrested him and it was local court proceedings that decided his punishment, even if he was arrested on the basis of national law (the decision was made based on national law as well, but it was still made locally.)

Thank you for your time!