As I review the new Arizona immigration law and the choleric response to it by so many, I have a question for the elected representatives and governor of Arizona: What took you so long? What Arizona did, however tardily, was merely exercise its constitutional rights in our federal republic — its sovereignty.

Here is why: The new breed of illegal immigrant in Arizona is not the man or woman pining for a better life, including work, in the United States. In recent years it has become more of a drug-driven enterprise.

The insatiable demand for drugs in this country, along with lack of border security, has created a new phenomenon: Ruthless drug cartels south of the Arizona border have set up human smuggling operations. Because virtually no border security is in place within 50 to 60 miles of the border, paramilitary drug smugglers and their human cargo operate almost at will. In other words, drug cartels are using illegal immigration tactics to get their product into the United States.

Considering the forgoing, is it any surprise Phoenix has a huge kidnapping problem? Is it any surprise ranch owners within 50 miles of the border are afraid for their lives and don’t go out at night?

Ironically, the Arizona law is actually less tough than the federal law, though one would never know that from the partisan statements and mainstream media coverage. Per the Arizona law, racial profiling is strictly prohibited, and police can ask for identification only if there is “reasonable cause” to believe something is amiss. “Reasonable cause” is not required of federal agents under the federal law. Federal law also requires that resident aliens carry proof of their legal status at all times — green cards, for example.

What is really strange is the federal response to the Arizona law. It sued and won the first round, claiming federal pre-emption of the whole immigration area. It is unclear whether the federal statutes have in fact expressly pre-empted the field on this, and in any event it will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Many legal scholars believe Arizona will prevail.

Yet the feds seem to have no problem with the 80 or so “sanctuary cities” that openly flout federal law by refusing to turn over illegal aliens, many of whom have been charged with state and/or city law violations.

And, by the way, express federal pre-emption did occur with respect to “sanctuary cities” in a 1996 statute.

So we are in a state of being that George Orwell would understand well: The Obama administration strongly objects when a state wants to help enforce the law and thereby leaves Arizona defenseless to near-open borders, thanks to the dereliction by the feds. But of course there is no problem with cities that openly flout the law.

There are a lot of sensible actions that could be taken to fix our immigration policies, but I would start with border security. Unfortunately, here we run into the entrenched Washington ruling class, in which Democrats do not want to make changes without amnesty, which will bring them a huge number of new Democratic voters, and Republicans do not want to make a change because their business friends like the availability of cheap labor.

What a sorry state of affairs.