Power over borders is an inherent aspect of national sovereignty, and the same holds when it comes to state sovereignty. That's why I cosponsored and supported S. 997, a bill passed by the South Carolina Senate to require the tracking of refugees entering the state of South Carolina and to hold refugees’ sponsors liable for any crimes committed by settlers from terrorist nations.
The federal government says that state law, which requires state and local police to question and possibly arrest illegal immigrants during the enforcement of other laws, usurps federal authority. In saying this it relies on “federal preemption,” a court-declared doctrine that says states are prohibited from passing their own laws in areas where federal law already “occupies the field.” Immigration, the feds’ argument runs, is one of those areas. I disagree.
The federal preemption doctrine only precludes state laws that contradict federal ones, not those that are consistent. The United States Supreme Court held in 1976 that there is no indication in the federal immigration law “that Congress intended to preclude state regulation touching on aliens in general.” And the Ninth Circuit, which covers Arizona, held in 1983 that “where state enforcement activities do not impair federal regulatory interests concurrent enforcement activity is authorized.”