We've seen the increasingly brazen flouting of our nation's immigration laws since the Obama administration in effect halted deportation proceedings against hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who were already in the legal system.
But perhaps no case of disrespect for immigration law was more audacious than an incident that took place in Alabama recently.
Alabama has enacted a law to fight illegal immigration and the high medical, educational and other costs it places on taxpayers. The tough new law angered politicians and others who favor granting amnesty to illegal immigrants, and activist federal courts have blocked portions of the law from taking effect.
But emboldened by the Obama administration's lax approach to deportations, two illegal aliens from Mexico recently walked into an office of the U.S. Border Patrol in Mobile, Ala., and casually announced their illegal status.
Apparently to their surprise, they were promptly arrested, and they are now being held in Louisiana, awaiting possible deportation. That has infuriated pro-illegal-immigration activists, who are demanding the acknowledged lawbreakers' release.
Unfortunately, they may get their wish. The cases of the two arrested men may fall in the broad category of deportation cases that the Obama administration is seeking to halt. So even though the men voluntarily walked into a Border Patrol office and declared that they were in the United States in violation of our laws, they may be set free -- with no real fear that they will eventually be sent home.
We understand the argument that it would be difficult if not impossible to round up and deport all the millions of illegal aliens in our nation. But it is flat wrong for the administration to turn loose those who have already been detained. That undermines the rule of law, which is crucial to civil society.