Vital Signs

The States Fight Back

What if the states started to fight back against federal refusal to protect American borders?  What if they started challenging, even nullifying, federal actions that promote illegal aliens coming and staying here?

Despite the centralization of America since at least 1865, the 50 states retain a surprising amount of autonomy.  And oddly enough, the flood of immigration since the 1965 open-borders reform is eroding the centralization that was cemented in place a century earlier.  Demographically, the states differ much more in 2015 than they did in 1965, turning E pluribus unum on its head, as Al Gore did in 1994: “Out of one, many.”

If activists want to reform immigration at the state level, the first battle should be over language, Michael Johns told me.  He’s a 30-year conservative activist, former Heritage Foundation scholar, and current advisor to Tea Party groups.  “We’ve lost control of the debate, the words we use,” he said.  “These really aren’t immigrants in the traditional sense.  Their very first act on entering the country was to violate the federal law and the state law.  And they’ve continued in many cases to be violators of the law.”

Even “illegal immigrant” isn’t accurate, he said, though it is used by Heritage and other conservative groups.  He says that the lawbreakers...

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