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Instructor`s name Federalism



Federalismis the compound or mixed style of administration that combines thecentral (federal) with the regional governments i.e. state,provincial, territorial, or land, among other sub-unitadministrations. Other forms of management include confederalism anddevolution. In the former style, the central government issubordinate to the local one and vice versa for the latter.Federalism depicts a neutral form for separation or integrationprovided by the other types of government. Some of the leadingexamples of federal states include Germany, the United States,Brazil, Canada, India, Australia, Mexico, and Switzerland. Theinteraction between the states and the central government is animportant aspect in the countries that practice this form. It is anintricate process if adequate guidance is not provided. As such, thispaper will give an example of how the federal government and thestates interact within the United States.

Federalismhas always been the fundamental feature of the Americanconstitutional structure. In future, the system will probablyencounter conflicts or cooperation. Naturally, the structure isdynamic with tension across all the government levels. Additionally,it continuously evolves, creating novel relations between the nationand the states. Over the years, there have been tensions between thestate and federal relations in many aspects. One of the key issueswhere the two bodies interact is border security and immigrationlaws. The federal, state and local governments find it hard to relateto this aspect [CITATION Tim13 p 1 l 1033 ].

Accordingto the constitution, the federal administration has no influence overimmigration. This is evidenced by Article I, section 8, clause fourthat mandates Congress to manage naturalization i.e. the procedure ofattaining citizenship to foreign-born individuals. However, theprovision does not cover immigration which is linked to residency andnot citizenship. Currently the terms “naturalization” and“immigration” seem to be closely related, yet they had differentmeanings during the ratification of the constitution. During the 18thcentury, immigration was described as the act of migrating from oneplace to another, while naturalization entailed investing foreignerswith the rights of native people. Since the Constitution only permitsthe federal administration particular reckoned authorities, andnoticeably lacking is the right to control immigration [CITATION Jen p 1 l 1033 ].

Assuch, it implies that the sovereign states retain before-mentionedbodies. The act was elucidated by the 10th Amendment that ThomasJefferson thought to be “the Constitution’s foundation.”Moreover, it reads, “The authorities not given by the constitutionto the United States, nor forbidden by it to the States, ought to beearmarked to the States in that order, or to the citizens.”Furthermore, Jefferson emphasized the same during the Kentuckyresolution back in 1798 that, Aliens are under the protection andjurisdiction of the state laws and no power has been given to thefederal government [CITATION Fed16 p 2 l 1033 ].

Securingthe borders is a complex issue that divides the two bodies. Thoughthe Constitution deems the laws to be within the state jurisdictions,some instances call for federal intervention. According to the U.S.Supreme Court, the supremacy clause gives the federal governmentauthority to regulate the border security and immigration laws. Itstates, “The management of aliens is intimately intertwined andblended within the duties of the central government.” In thisclause, the act of Congress is deemed as supreme over the state laws.If the federal government makes adjustments concerning the generalfield, states cannot interfere or conflict the regulations [CITATION Rob111 p 1 l 1033 ].

However,other interpretations of the same affirm that the supremacy clauseonly relates to the authorities according to the Constitution. Inthat regard, it should only be employed in Congress’s stated powersand not in general aspects since it would contradict the veryobjective of the structure. Therefore, Congress has jurisdictionsover naturalization and not immigration. Moreover, the Constitutiononly established a confederation of sovereign states and not anation-state relation. In this case, the states only agreed to reducesome of its authorities in place of a central government with the aimof strengthening the market and mutual defense [CITATION Fed16 p 3 l 1033 ].

Agood example of the tangles is the anti-immigration regulations inthe state of Arizona. It has been proclaimed through the federaladministration that the States are prohibited from defending theirborders and managing illegal foreigners since the powers are given tothe federal government by the Constitution. There is a notion thatillegal immigrants who are undocumented fall under the jurisdictionof the federal government. However, the constitution silent on thismatter. By giving the central government the jurisdictions onnaturalization, the constitution ensures that attaining citizenshipis uniform across all the states [CITATION Jen p 1 l 1033 ].

Accordingto the general government, it has the responsibility of securing theUnited States borders. Nonetheless, the Constitution permits thefederal government to exercise this power in two ways i.e. themilitary of militias of the several states. In that respect, thefederal government can only send the military or send armies fromdifferent states to repel the alien invasion. If the aliens enteringthe states do not form an attack, the federal government has noconstitutional powers [CITATION Tim13 p 1 l 1033 ].

Thefederal agencies involved with immigration duties include theDepartment of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ),Department of State (DOS), Department of Health and Human Services(HHS), Department of Education (ED), and Department of Labor (DOL).However, State and local law enforcement must coordinate to combatthe adverse effects of the illegal migration. They are usually in theforefront fighting transnational gang activity, smuggling, drugoffenses, and human trafficking among other crimes emanating fromillegal immigration. The two bodies must work in harmony to securethe borders. Whenever, the local law enforcers and the state do notcoordinate with the immigration officers, criminal aliens continuecausing havoc within the communities [CITATION Jen p 1 l 1033 ].

Agood illustration can be drawn from the 2015 case where a criminalalien shot and killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle in San Francisco. Theperpetrator had seven other convictions as well as five deportations.The suspect had formerly been apprehended by the local policeofficers but would later be set free by the county sheriff after itfailed to assent to the ICE’s request to detain the person. Theconstitution of America is the supreme order of the land. It bindsthe functions and separation of power within various arms ofgovernment. America operates in a federalist type of government [CITATION Fed16 p 3 l 1033 ].

Divisionof power and responsibilities has been vital. For over a decade,Immigration and boundaries issues have always fallen under thefederal government arm of responsibility. This, consequently, meansstates do not have the free will of making immigration laws. Ittherefore means states should have little to no role to play in theimmigration laws other than to follow the federal laws. However,boundaries and immigration issues have always been of concern to thestates. This has brought up several complex cases being handled incourts in different states all over America. Congress has always beenmandated to pass laws that regulate immigration this has always beendone leaving no room for state laws. These are on matters when todetain or penalize immigrants or check immigration status [CITATION The151 p 1 l 1033 ].

However,over the recent years, congressional lack of action has causedvarious states to take decisions and matters to their jurisdiction.Most recently in 2011 the American Supreme Court ruled on the issueconcerning immigration and the federal powers on immigration andborder issues. The deciding matter when the two arms clash has alwaysbeen the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the highest court in theland with the jurisdiction to handle conflicts between the states andthe federal government [CITATION Tim13 p 1 l 1033 ].

TheSupreme Court can either preempt a case concerning state lawsclashing with the federal statutes. If the state laws on a matter areconsidered unconstitutional, the Supreme Court orders the federal lawas supreme. That is according to (Article VI, clause 2) which says,“This Constitution, and the statutes of the U.S. which shall beexecuted in Pursuance thereof … shall be the supreme Law of theLand and the Jury in every State shall be restrained thereby, anyThing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrarynotwithstanding.”[CITATION Tim13 p 1 l 1033 ].

Immigrationand border laws cover more than just visas migration and policies onimmigration. Federal law on immigration encompasses a wider areaincluding the policing, education, workplace and work permits forimmigrants and other issues. On the issue on Municipal Ordinances,federal laws have always taken precedence concerning housing laws andsettlement issues on migration status. This has not brought too muchof conflicts between the states and the federal government and henceis very straightforward. State policing has, however, brought littlechallenges and disagreements like the 2010 policing law in Arizona [CITATION Rob111 p 1 l 1033 ].

Onthe contrary, Workplace regulations and all the issues concerning thehiring of staff by employees has brought the biggest conflictsbetween federal statutes and state laws. This is the mostcontroversial aspect of the states and the federal government. Statelawmakers have always made laws concerning the staffing of companiesand the issues arising from immigrants’ employment. This is howeverin contrary to federal legislation that has always made concerningjobs and immigration. On a case pitting United States chamber ofcommerce versus Whiting, the Supreme Court led a ruling that gaveleeway to the states to provide employer sanctions concerning statebusinesses and licenses. On the case of Arizona’s aggressiveimmigration policies, the courts saw Arizona’s system as a way togrant more consideration on others over other citizens of America. Itis very clear by the constitution that issues of immigration andNaturalization have always been the federal government [CITATION Jen p 1 l 1033 ].

However,the federal laws on naturalization have always created room forconflict since employment issues have not been well articulated. Inaddition to that, it is always mandated that Congress shall alwayshave the last say concerning naturalization issues. In addition tothat, it is clear that immigration laws always covers foreignnationals that happen to be within the United States of Americaborders. It is explicit that foreigners are included under theforeign affairs department which are under the federal government.Variations that were made to the Constitution by the Fourteenthamendment that was drafted in 1866 and was ratified in 1868 clearlydocumented that exclusive power on Immigration, citizenship, andnaturalization shall remain with the Federal Government. This,therefore, took away all the powers of the states concerning theissues of natives, foreign-born and other immigrants [CITATION Fed16 p 3 l 1033 ].

Ina similar incidence, the Supreme Court in 1941 ruled in a casepitting Hines versus Davido Witz in Pennsylvania that the state doesnot have any basis to force any alien to register with the state.That it was the jurisdiction of the federal government and the stateshould not continue its tendency of charging the aliens with anannual subscription fee [CITATION The151 p 1 l 1033 ].

Somestates still argue that the issue with immigration and borderlegislations should fall under their jurisdiction. This is in linewith security matters. In a past event in 2002, a group of shootersincluding Lee Malvo a young illegal alien from Jamaica together withJohn Allen Muhammad went on a shooting spree in Washington. Theylater were nicknamed “DC snipers.” This brings up the securityissue faced by the states from these illegal aliens. States haveargued that their involvement in immigration policymaking would helpimprove the safety since in many instances the federal governmentstill relies on the state and local governments to enforce most ofthe federal immigration laws[CITATION Fed16 p 2 l 1033 ].

Toimprove on this, some members of the Congress have proposedlegislation that would bring about collaboration between the localgovernments and the state on issues concerning national security.This, however, might have to include several incentives to make thestates implement immigration laws. These bills including the HomelandSecurity Enhancement Act 2005 and Clear Law Enforcement for theCriminal Alien Removal Act of 2005 have spearheaded theresponsibility of the state and the federal government in theenforcement of federal immigration laws [CITATION Fed16 p 2 l 1033 ].

Giventhe general number of aliens in the country, federal government byitself can never manage to enforce these immigration laws. Theseenforcements of immigration laws by the local authorities havebrought friction severally between the federal government and thestates because local bodies are expected to enforce laws that theydid not partake in the legislation. This has been a problem becausethe local governments are overburdened by the responsibility toenforce immigration laws. Proposals have come by to increase fundingto the enforcers to reinforce support to them. A challenge in theenforcements of these laws comes in that some local authorities havehad good relationships with some aliens. It has gone to the extentthat some aliens have always been informants to the stategovernments. Using state to enforce some of these immigration lawswill bring fear to these immigrants who fear deportation [CITATION Fed16 p 6 l 1033 ].

Inconclusion, the federal and state government jurisdictions at timescontradict. As exemplified above, border security and immigrationlaws are usually contradicted due to the interpretations of theconstitution. While the constitution mandates Congress to regulatenaturalization laws, it is silent on immigration. Perhaps thedescription of these two terms has changed over time and hence causesconfusion. The constitution only permits the federal government tocall on the militias from different states during an alien invasion.Therefore, if the immigrations do not satisfy the invasion aspect,the federal government has no jurisdictions. Nevertheless, it isparamount for the two i.e. state and federal government to work inharmony to safeguard the United States boundaries.


Chacon, Jennifer. &quotWho is Responsible for U.S. immigration policy?&quot 2014. http://www.americanbar.org/publications/insights_on_law_andsociety/14/spring-2014/who-is-responsible-for-u-s–immigration-policy-.html. 18 November 2016.

Federation for American Immigration Reform. &quotThe Role of State &amp Local Law Enforcement in Immigration Matters and Reasons to Resist Sanctuary Policies.&quot (2016): 1-6. Document.

Greenslade, Robert. &quotStates vs Feds: Borders and the Constitution.&quot 4 October 2011. http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2010/10/04/states-vs-feds-borders-and-the-constitution/. 18 November 2016.

Kelly, Tim. &quotImmigration, the Constitution, and Liberty.&quot 19 February 2013. http://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/immigration-the-constitution-and-liberty/. 18 November 2016.

The Pew Charitable Trust. &quotImmigration Enforcement Along U.S. Borders and at Ports of Entry .&quot 6 February 2015. http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/issue-briefs/2015/02/immigration-enforcement-along-us-borders-and-at-ports-of-entry. 18 November 2016.