D.A. King has been an invaluable and dogged opponent of illegal immigration both in Georgia and nationwide for years, and his important work paid off again recently in the Peach State.
King filed a complaint with Georgia's new Immigration Enforcement and Review Board against a misguided ordinance in Atlanta that allowed the city to recognize a Mexican ID card for city government transactions.
In 2004, Atlanta began recognizing the card, known as the matricula consular. It is issued by the Mexican government to Mexican citizens in other nations.
But U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who are conducting legitimate business with the city of Atlanta already have or are entitled to get valid state- or federally issued identification. So in Georgia and elsewhere, it is often illegal aliens who present the cards as identification. Georgia law, however, specifically forbids the use of the matricula consular as valid ID at any agency that handles public benefits.
That is perfectly appropriate, because it is not the place of any government in the United States -- whether at the municipal, state or federal level -- to confer the slightest legitimacy on illegal immigration. As such, Atlanta erred in recognizing the matricula consular for purposes of city government transactions the past eight years. While the city did not go as far as some other cities around the country in creating a sanctuary for illegal aliens, it was at a minimum encouraging the problem of illegal immigration.
But now, after King took up the matter with the Immigration Enforcement and Review Board, Atlanta properly has reversed course. The city has repealed the ordinance in question.
King's was the first complaint the board has received since its creation by state lawmakers last year. It is good to see the panel get off to a productive start.
Nevertheless, Georgia's and some other states' get-tough approach to unlawful immigration has angered apologists for illegal aliens. They say the states ought to leave immigration enforcement to the federal government.
That would be a sensible enough position to take if the Obama administration were not so determined to avoid enforcement of major portions of federal immigration law. But respect for the rule of law is on life support in this administration. And so the states are left with no choice but to step up to the plate -- if they want to avoid some of the catastrophic costs associated with illegal aliens using a range of taxpayer-funded benefits.
Georgia was justified in taking up this fight, Atlanta was right to do an about-face -- and King remains a vital part of the battle.