Here’s a real dilemma for many conservatives: Which is a higher priority, states’ rights or illegal immigrants? Better choose carefully, Tea Partiers — and quickly — because it looks like one of those concerns will have to take a back seat. The Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) now says that beginning in 2013, states will not be allowed to opt out of the “Secure Communities” program. That’s the program that enlists local law enforcement in the federal hunt for illegal immigrants. ICE says it will no longer need a governor's signature before it puts Secure Communities into practice in individual states — and that it plans to expand the program to states that have so far opposed taking part in the program.
Some states, such as New York, California, Illinois and Massachusetts, oppose the Secure Communities program because, they say, nearly 30,000 people have been deported who didn’t have criminal records. Evidently, ICE doesn’t give a damn what the states have to say about it, and is telling these state-government-level scofflaws that they'll cooperate whether they like it or not. Sounds like more gummint interference in states’ rightful business, so I imagine conservatives will rally behind their belief in states’ rights. Right? Or, wait a minute, is it more important to rid the nation of the pestilence of brownish, Spanish-speaking people without proper papers? Since conservatives generally don’t respond well to ambiguities, much less paradoxes, it could get really interesting when they try to figure things out. Be careful around them, and watch out for flying pieces of right-wing brains when their heads start exploding.