In response to a June 12 letter (Forty-nine other states need to adopt Arizona law), I must respectfully disagree. The letter writer's argument falls flat for two main reasons: legality is not synonymous with justice and immigration is not the problem, the welfare state is.
A rule passed with legislative authority may be legal but doesn't necessarily fulfill the rule of law. The rule of law imposes limitations upon legislation and places requirements of generality, equality, certainty and justice on legislation for it to be legitimate. As F. A. Hayek illustrated in "The Constitution of Liberty," the rule of law is "a rule concerning what the law ought to be and is not effective unless it's ingrained in the moral tradition of the society in which the laws operate." Segregation, discrimination, price controls and other restrictive, racist and arbitrary laws have been enforced by the state that are horribly unjust. If a law is unjust, arbitrary or harmful, individuals should ignore the law; indeed, such disobedience is the only way society has progressed in a meaningful manner toward liberty and justice.
I am apparently ignorant of what illegal manner the current president helped foster the passage of the terrible health care bill; the majority of Congress, blissfully ignorant of economy reality and the fundamental problems with the health industry, passed the health care bill like any other bill. Not only this, but we've had congresses and presidents flaunting the Constitution for decades, if not longer (I believe it was Kissinger in 1973 who said, "The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer"). Of course the president and Congress do not care about the Constitution; they're simply following the precedent set by previous politicians.
Getting back to the basics of the American legal system is a wonderful idea and for that suggestion I applaud the letter writer. The importance of tradition is a vital point in conservative and libertarian thought; great thinkers like Robert Nisbet and Hayek have illuminated how tradition is important because it's a way for society to pass down rules and ideas that allow individuals to peacefully interact and prosper together. When laws are realized to be unjust and harm or restrict individuals in peaceful actions however, they must be amended or revoked in the name of progress. Tradition can be arbitrary and restrictive and should evolve along with society.
I doubt the letter writer would quote Romans 13 in the defense of the legitimacy of Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin's despotic regimes. Contrary to his statement that "laws are a terror to evil works," it is only true when it applies to the rule of law, not unjust legislation. Saudi Arabian oppression of Christianity, for example, is hard to reconcile with the letter writer's assertion. The rule of law that applies to every individual universally, equally, and justly is law that is a terror to evil works, but legislation like the Arizona immigration bill sadly does not apply.
People, like myself, are upset with the Arizona law not because it attempts to protect individuals from harm and infringements on his or her liberty. The Arizona law fails, utterly and completely, because it uses a group of people as a scapegoat for economic and societal problems. Citizenship should be checked when arresting an individual on suspicion of a crime; that is a legitimate police action. However, the same allegations leveled against the current wave of immigration have been leveled against waves of Irish, Italian, German, Japanese, and Chinese immigration in the past. The problem, however, is not immigrants; the problem is an entitlement mentality. Instead of self-responsibility and perseverance, many feel entitled to any worldly comfort simply because others have it. When immigrants arrive in droves for economic improvement and use the welfare system, instead of looking at the problem of an entitlement mentality and an unsustainable welfare state, economic ignorance and xenophobia target immigrants. The rain is blamed for the leaky roof. If we reform immigration to naturalize citizens in a more efficient manner and limit government power, we'll be able to focus on substantive issues instead of petty squabbles over from where an individual moved.