Thornberry says states should enforce own immigration lawsCongressman reacts to Arizona controversy
By Trish Choate
WASHINGTON — Wichita Falls Congressman Mac Thornberry said the key take-away from Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision on Arizona's controversial immigration law is that it is the federal government's job — not states — to make and enforce immigration laws.
But the federal government has performed poorly when it comes to controlling immigration, Thornberry, a Republican from Clarendon, said Monday.
"The federal government ought to do its job, which I think everybody should be able to agree with regardless of how you feel about this decision," he said.
A divided Supreme Court, 5-4, struck down most provisions of the Arizona law contested by President Barack Obama's administration.
But justices unanimously upheld a key provision requiring Arizona state and local officers to check immigration status in some circumstances of anyone stopped, detained or arrested in connection with other violations if officers suspect the person is in the country illegally.
North Texas Congressman Randy Neugebauer said he is pleased the provision was upheld because it allows border-state enforcement officials to do their job more efficiently.
Neugebauer, who represents Young County and part of Archer County, criticized current immigration policies, saying they "reward bad actors and fail to incentivize legal entry into the United States."
"As a result, our immigration system is overwhelmed, and many are walking right through the cracks," Neugebauer, a Republican from Lubbock, said in a statement Monday. "States should be allowed to act in their own best interests to discourage illegal behavior."
Thornberry, a graduate of the University of Texas Law School, said he agreed with dissenting justices who contend states should be able to make and enforce their own immigration laws as long as they don't contradict the federal government's.
Dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his opinion that states should have the basic power to keep out "people who have no right to be" within their borders.
Scalia also blasted Obama for a recent decision not to enforce certain immigration laws for undocumented immigrants younger than 30 who entered the United States before they were 16.
"I think that's very disturbing to have a president decide what laws he will or will not enforce," Thornberry said.
This article contains material from The Associated Press. Texas regional reporter Trish Choate can be reached at 202-408-2709 or email@example.com.
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