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Vijay Patel

Vijay Patel has 2 articles published.

The Constitutional Argument for Sanctuary Cities

in Contemporary Politics/Political Issues by

Imagine you have two undocumented immigrants who enter the country and settle down in a certain city. One of them, a 27 old male named Joseph, illegally entered the country seeking a no skill needed minimum wage job to support himself and his family back home. Unable to find a secure job in his hometown, he emigrated to the states in hopes of finding a stable source of income. The other is a 24 year old female named Jane who came to the US illegally in an effort to escape government corruption in her home country. Anyways, last week, Joseph was pulled over for a traffic violation and was brought into the local police station because he did not have a valid driver’s license. He was identified in the federal database and ICE was alerted. Also that week, Jane was arrested for theft and was similarly identified in the federal database; ICE was alerted. Under federal law, both these people should be detained and deported back to their home countries. However, it’s entirely unjust that a man who was charged with a harmless traffic violation receives the same penalty as the woman who committed a felony. Some cities today back this idea, calling themselves sanctuary cities, and choose to only honor federal immigration law to a certain degree. While the federal government and the Trump administration seems to target these sanctuary cities because they interfere with the larger scheme of mass deportation, municipal governments in these cities choose to not help with the enforcement of federal law.

This presents us with a conflict of interests. On one hand, the federal government is strictly pushing for the defunding of these sanctuary cities, while select municipal governments fight for their right to be free of federal control. So who should have the final say?

The constitution declares that the power ultimately falls to the state — or a city — under the 10th amendment. Author Ilya Somin of The Washington Post supports this claim in his article, “Trump Can’t Stop the Sanctuary Movement,” stating that regardless of the federal government’s pressure on a municipal government, the city is free to carry on with their plans (without facing consequences from the federal government). He cites a Supreme Court case, New York v. United States, to show that rulings have been made saying that it is illegal for federal governments to take control of state governments in order to execute their will. He continues to suggest that, although Trump’s threats of defunding of sanctuary cities may seem looming, they are in fact much more harmless because the federal government does not have the ability to simply cut off funding because they disagree with a state’s views.

His claims appear to be generally unbiased and well-supported, but lean more toward support of the state’s ability to execute their will over the requests of the federal government. He acknowledges the argument toward federal powers having the final say over the matter, but argues against it with constitutional support and relevant court rulings.

Furthermore, although Somin’s argument is structured around the theoretical inability of the federal government to interfere with state affairs, another article published by The New York Times examines a specific case: Trump’s attempted interference in the sanctuary city movement. Author Peter Markowitz discusses the Justice Department’s lawsuit against California, which is centered against 3 California laws that basically outline their sanctuary laws. He says the case is based off a similar case in which Arizona changed their legislation to one that did not require state police to aid federal efforts to enforce immigration laws. The lawsuit against California mirrors that lawsuit; if Arizona is not allowed to interfere in federal immigration enforcement, California shouldn’t either. He argues that California is not impeding federal enforcement of immigration laws, but simply taking themselves out of the equation, which he believes to be absolutely legal.

The choice to integrate sanctuary laws into state or municipal legislation falls outside the realm of the federal government. Pursuant to the 10th amendment, any power not enumerated to the federal government becomes the power of the state. Although immigration overall is a federal power, the federal government should be only able to use their resources to enforce its policies, not those of the individual states. The resources of the state should be utilized in enforcing the law of the state, rather than being at the hands of the federal government. If we allow for the federal government to interfere with matters that are clearly under the jurisdiction of the state, what will stop them from expanding their power from restrictions on sanctuary cities to a multitude of federal interests?  

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/opinion/trump-california-sanctuary-movement.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/11/26/federalism-the-constitution-and-sanctuary-cities/?utm_term=.a23e9144eb4b

 

Net Neutrality and the Future of the American Economy

in Science & Technology by

On December 14th, 2017, the FCC (Federal Communications Committee), led by attorney Ajit Pai, voted to repeal the laws that mandated net neutrality. Unsurprisingly, their decision sparked public outrage, and garnered bipartisan opposition.

It wasn’t long before politicians began to fight for new laws protecting neutrality, and state attorneys general began to file lawsuits. To fully understand the effects of its repeal, it is crucial to understand what net neutrality is.

Net neutrality (or more specifically, Title II) was legislation adopted in 2015 under the Obama administration, which required that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) treat all data equally, regardless of “user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.”* For example, this means that data being transferred to you from Hulu could not be intentionally slowed because the ISP has a deal with Netflix, a competitor. A metaphorical “fast lane” would be created for companies able to pay ISPs for prioritization, and the rest of the businesses who don’t pay would be put into the “slow/normal lane”.  Net neutrality ensured free and open internet to all, and allowed for smaller companies to grow because their content was treated the same as bigger companies. However, this idea of net neutrality came under attack at the end of last year.

This is our wondrous FCC chairman, Ajit Pai. He believes that repealing net neutrality would lead to the creation of “next generation networks”, and see “unparalleled innovation and investment going forward.” Essentially, by steamrolling small businesses, larger corporations would generate more revenue that they could then use to advance technology. Unsurprisingly, he has led the FCC in the fight against net neutrality. He sure looks highly qualified to do so… So, nevermind all that technical stuff, what does the repeal of net neutrality mean for you?

The New York Times argues that the repeal in net neutrality will lead to ISPs “bundling internet” packages, similar to how cable packages are sold right now **. If you want access to Facebook for example, you may have to purchase an internet bundle that has a social media package. Portugal already has a system like this, shown below.

Pretty scary right? It could well become reality in the near future for Americans. We may see the end of many smaller businesses, as they are unable to pay the fee to get put into the “fast lane”. Hopefully Congress can sort this mess out before we lose the free web entirely. Until then, enjoy these pictures of Ajit, our current Chairman of the Federal Communications Committee.

Product of Errant Publishing Co.
 
*Gilroy, Angele A. (March 11, 2011). Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate (Report). DIANE Publishing. p. 1. ISBN 978-1437984545.
**https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/technology/net-neutrality-repeal-vote.html
https://www.cnet.com/news/net-neutrality-fcc-2017-repeal-what-it-means/
https://sdtimes.com/americans/poll-political-parties-agree-supporting-net-neutrality/
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