It is frustrating that Alabama, Georgia and a number of other states have had to enact their own laws to deal with the high costs of illegal immigration. They are being forced to take up the slack, because the federal government has all too often ignored its constitutional duty to fight illegal immigration.
Nevertheless, it is encouraging that states that have enacted such laws are getting good results.
News accounts suggest that Alabama's recently enacted law may be prompting quite a few illegal aliens to leave the state. Some are heading for states with less stringent laws on illegal immigration, but some are returning to their homelands.
That is exactly the idea.
Neither an individual state nor our country as a whole can expect to stem the tide of illegal immigration if we have weak or unenforced laws to deal with the estimated 11 million to 20 million illegal aliens who are in the United States. If, as President Barack Obama would like to do, we granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, we would send the message to millions more that if they come here unlawfully in the future, they would stand a good chance of being suddenly declared "legal."
That is not something that the American people want, and the anti-illegal-immigration laws in Alabama and other states are in part a reaction to the administration's lax approach to the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
It is unfortunate that parts of Alabama's new law -- including a provision requiring the compiling of statistics on the number of illegal aliens in public schools -- have been blocked by a federal court. Why, after all, shouldn't taxpayers be allowed to know the extent and cost of education or other services they are having to provide to people who have no right to be in the United States?
But still intact is a provision of Alabama's law that lets police check the immigration status of suspected illegal aliens during traffic stops. That provision alone, according to news accounts, is prompting the flight of some illegal immigrants from the state. So even though it has been weakened by the federal court, the Alabama law is still getting some worthwhile results.
Other states, such as Arizona, have had similarly positive results from tough laws. When Arizona enacted a law in 2007 stiffening penalties against businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens, an estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants left the state, USA Today reported.
Not surprisingly, the flight of illegal immigrants from states with these types of laws on the books has some "civil rights" groups crying foul. But there is no "right" to be in Alabama or any part of the United States illegally.
Our country has a legal immigration process. Those who jump to the front of the line ahead of others who are attempting to come to the United States through lawful means should be humanely but promptly deported.
And even if our federal government will not carry out that commonsense policy, the states are well justified in enacting laws that discourage illegal aliens from taking up residence within their borders.