April 29th, 2010

Immigration reform: Obama and Congress vs. the citizens of the United States

Used to be that when the leaders of Congress said they would move on a certain bill (or not move on a certain bill), you could kinda sorta believe them. Now trying to figure out what’s really happening is like being a Kremlinologist back in the USSR’s heyday.

And so we get, simultaneously, articles at Memeorandum that say that Democrats are going ahead on an immigration bill and that it is doubtful that an immigration bill will be passed this year.

Reading between the lines, it appears that, with the defection of the lone Republican previously on board, Lindsay Graham, the Democrats have lost their already-shaky claim to bipartisan cover. This leaves them with the problem of placating their Hispanic supporters and trying to make Republicans look bad, which points to their adopting a strategy of pushing a bill they know is unlikely to pass, just so they can say they tried and the Republicans didn’t. This might be especially helpful to Harry Reid, who needs to appeal to Hispanic voters in his home state of Nevada.

The issue is complicated by the fact that Arizona forced Congress’s hand somewhat by passing its own attempt at handling the problems of illegal immigrants, and that the Arizona law is very popular nationwide. Despite this popularity (or perhaps because of it; who knows any more?) the Justice Department is contemplating challenging it, extending the Obama administration’s continuing war against the opinions and wishes of its own citizens:

Although it was the federal government which ignored Arizona’s repeated pleas to help patrol the border and thus caused the state to feel the need to pass the bill in the first place, Obama and Holder would dearly love to stop the state from implementing its solution. Such an action by the administration would be shocking and unprecedented—words that keep coming up in describing the actions of Obama et al:

“It’s relatively rare for the federal government to directly challenge a state law,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University Law School, who could not cite a comparable example. “It’s even more rare when there is no shortage of people challenging the law.” A coalition of civil rights groups announced Wednesday that it is preparing its own suit against Arizona, and officials in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff said they are considering suing the state…

“It would absolutely inflame people,” said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations for NumbersUSA, an Arlington group that calls for tougher immigration enforcement.

“Arizona passed this law because the federal government abdicated its enforcement responsibilities on immigration,” said Jenks, a lawyer who says the new law is constitutional. “To now have the federal government come in and say ‘You can’t do that’ is going to outrage a whole lot of people.”

“A whole lot of people,” indeed. For example, there are reports that seven other states are considering legislation similar to that passed by Arizona. The majority of the people of the United States want this, and their own government wants to stand in their way. And remember, what the Arizona law does is to empower state officers to enforce federal laws already on the books, because the federal government refuses to do so—not to go beyond the law or to violate it.

33 Responses to “Immigration reform: Obama and Congress vs. the citizens of the United States”

  1. Artfldgr Says:

    Now you know why way back when i could tell what the climate would be but could not tell you the weather. so i could not argue a case of a to be to c to d, couldn’t even argue a known outcome. but that doesn’t mean that many of is didn’t know a ball was in play. problem is that in a stable republic this ball should not be in play.

    one dumb*ss put in to make a similar fed law. basically being called out as a republican who is really a progressive and willing to put up something like this to create the image of a party affiliation to facilitate smears and other things.

    quite interesting actually. Its giving me the sense that its getting brutal and no one knows who to trust as this whole thing can only be pulled off by double dealing.

    worst part is that the Spanish by acting up in such a negatively race based manner on it are making the case against themselves!!!

    for instance contrast the event that didnt happen with the stuff that did. here is some stuff that did…

    there were protests and people with signs, and most were not unruly. however many were, and it wasn’t a tiny amount. the Spanish who were not unruly egged these on verbally and when they did things that AMERICANS would find reprehensible, didnt find it so, as they are seeing this as a race war.

    of those that were doing the worst stuff, you have many many mexicans with bandannas on their faces like old west train robbers. others held up signs about killing white people. one woman on a tape going around is pretending she is a hutu or a tutsi from the last century and saying they are going to use farm utensils on whites.

    they are walking around with Spanish flags, dragging American flags and setting them on fire. yelling that this is their continent, as if they can choose their descendants and somehow maintain its potency after so many generations of European Spanish conquest and deny that.

    i have talked to people at the elite events in ny. you know, where the hip know the history, and such from pamphlets handed out in south america. so i got some lessons about a history that never was.

    [just as we have a history that neer was. for instance, the US and the UK used their power to STOP slavery on earth... yes they had slavery, but so did a plethera of cultures. moores kept white slaves (ergo the white slave myths in the US early last century), Arabs to this day keep slaves, japanese gangsters do, and the african coast enslaves children to work. America wasn't all that old and so its slavery period is NOTHING like the rest of the world, where Chinese emperors would take children and make them into eunuchs to run the courts. but as always i digress too much]

    now, lets contrast this with an even that never happened in which the people who were immigrants who entered illegally (which is the better way to say it) went to protest.

    it was a sunny day, and you heard chants of America for Americans, we want to be Americans.
    no threats of killing whites, Americans, or give them the continent back.

    instead the marched around government buildings with American flags reciting the constitutions preamble…

    the latter would have killed the law in a week..

  2. Bob from Virginia Says:

    I got the impression that Arizona took its action largely out of desperation concerning crime. Hopefully even the slow boats who voted for Mr. Cool are asking themselves that since the first duty of government is the physical protection of its citizens and since this duty seems to have been abrogated by the Obami what good is he?

    Of course, the “so good he is good for nothing, as in San Fransico” vote may trump legal and moral duty.

  3. Mr. Frank Says:

    Just as with the health care bill, it seems not to matter what the people want. The Obama administration is going to give us what they think we need, good and hard. The left claims to like the masses, but they don’t have much use for the will of the people.

    The folks who voted for Zero really screwed us over.

  4. ethos Says:

    The dems are trying to undercut it alright–
    Read this.
    http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NWE5MGMwOGVjYzI5Nzg4NGFlYmM2MThlOTUwOTliMmM=

  5. Artfldgr Says:

    “states and municipalities will be prohibited from enacting their own rules and penalties relating to immigration, which could undermine federal policies.”

    excellent ethos…

    notice the wording.. neo is a lawyer, no?
    wording in law is EVERYTHING…

    and they did not say undermind federal LAW, they said undermine federal POLICIES.

    which means they can make a great law, then not enforce it as thats the policy.

    [they have been stacking up unconstitutional laws for years like this. check out some of the speech codes and such. they are not used, so there is no person who runs afoul of them so you cant do anything about them... cant test constitutionality unless your the person who it effects, and if they don't enforce, then it stays... however, suspend the constitution for even a minute, and they ALL come in full force without means of habeus corpus...]

    waiting for my law lesson… :)

  6. Occam's Beard Says:

    C’mon, Barry just a little…touchy…about requiring people to produce American birth certificates, that’s all.

  7. Beverly Says:

    When will Obama-worshippers cross the “threshold of decerebrate genuflection”?

    Ever?

  8. Artfldgr Says:

    Border disorder
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/border_disorder_rfy8ccTuYvAzNeDzP7qmsM

    given the attention in Arizona and the huge display, there is some other very important things going on in Mexico and between Nicaragua and Columbia (with Venezuela churning things up)

    After less than five years of fighting, estimates of the dead have reached 22,000.

    The rule of law has collapsed from Tijuana on the Pacific’s edge to Matamoros and the Gulf of Mexico. Major cities are now “ungoverned spaces,” as our diplomats refer tidily to distant trouble spots.

  9. betsybounds Says:

    Artfl, here is your law lesson: Obama deems the law to be what Obama says it is, and he is the Boss of us. We aren’t quite completely there yet, but we’re well on the way.

    I do not understand why the Republicans–again, as ever, and in typical fashion–are not making much of the real problems the Arizonans face, down there near the border. They’ve had citizens murdered, property destroyed, and a population put in fear for their own safety. It’s not just about controlling the border against population movement. It’s about controlling the border against a real, tangible, and daily threat. I hate, and will never vote for, the Democrats. But I wish, O I wish, the Republicans would try to inspire some confidence. They STILL do not seem to have a clue what kind of fight they are in, or what the stakes are.

    Events will show them. I hope it will not be too late.

  10. Beverly Says:

    I’m with you, Betsybounds. It’s baffling. In fact, it’s enough to make me wonder if they’re the Potemkin opposition.

    All of them should be sent to the border to stay, unarmed, in one of those ranches for a fortnight, to get just a taste of what real-live American citizens are facing and dealing with. If they don’t “get it” then, we’ll know they’re with the Flying Monkeys of the Dark Side.

  11. rickl Says:

    betsybounds & Beverly:
    It would be comforting, in a way, to believe that Democrats are malevolent totalitarians while Republicans are well-meaning but befuddled folks who fail to appreciate the evil that the Democrats are up to.

    But I’m having a harder and harder time thinking that that’s the case.

    An alternative explanation is something that might be proffered by the Birchers and hard-core libertarians: that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the parties, and all of their partisan bullshit is just Kabuki theater for the masses. They both see themselves as the international hereditary ruling class of the New World Order, i.e., One World Government. That all of their manufactured crises, wars, and economic collapses are just a means to stampede the sheep into that particular pen.

    I don’t know whether that’s the case or not. But maybe we’ll get an idea if the Republicans win a massive victory in November and then decide, for whatever reason, that they can’t push for repeal of the destructive Democrat policies.

  12. rickl Says:

    There are just too damn many Republicans who seem to feel perfectly comfortable with being members of the governing class, regardless of whether they are in the majority or not.

  13. Mike Mc. Says:

    The majority of the people of the United States want this, and their own government wants to stand in their way.

    Bingo! You win the prize!

    Are we sensing a pattern here?

    This has been building for decades now. In the end, it is “us or them” and not both of us. Period.

    “Us” is the majority of good and decent people in the United States of America, which once held the title of “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”, and the “Land of Opportunity”, and the place where there was a marvelous dream called “The American Dream”.

    “Them” are Liberals (Socialists and Marxists and Fascists by another name and style of rule only) and Democrats (the two being equivalent). They have already destroyed most of the above, and they’ll surely take the rest if they are allowed. That is as certain as any certainty there is.

    It is “Us or them”. The only questions are a) will there even be a battle or has America given up; and b) If there will be, then who will win.

  14. JohnC Says:

    Two words: Jan Brewer

    Forget Sarah Palin. Ms Brewer did not come out of nowhere. She is a bright, down to earth woman with a boatload of successful executive experience in Arizona; a leader with brains and common sense. I hope she runs for national office in 2012. See her credentials from wiki

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Brewer

  15. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    If all generals fight the last war, perhaps old politicians fight their first election, over and over.

    Other than learning the DC ‘system’, it appears that most politicians never develop any greater degree of awareness than whatever amount they arrived with in the first place.

    That certainly applies to many Republicans and not just the RINO’s either.

    Boehner in the House seems to, at least somewhat, get it but I don’t see much out of Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority Leader.

    His acumen in the intricacies of parliamentary maneuvering may be unmatched but he’s no visionary and without vision, a leader can’t lead. I suspect he’s not a leader but a facilitator. Nothing wrong with that but for every Madison you need a Jefferson and a Washington.

    Sadly, Steele keeps disappointing. I’ve begun to conclude that his race had more to do with his appointment than political insight and savvy.

    What the republicans lack is leadership with a vision of where we want to go and how to get there.

    Perhaps we’re just at the stage of freeing ourselves from the narrative.

    Mostly, conservatives seem to know what not to do but other than maintaining that things would be better if we didn’t make them worse, we haven’t offered much as to how we could make things better.

    Perhaps we haven’t yet formulated a modern conservative manifesto, one that honors the time-proven principles of the past while re-framing it in such a way that it appeals to the young.

    I think we can do that and suspect that the answers lie within the very principles we advocate.

  16. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Oops! Darn tags. First time that’s happened to me. Oh well the link does work.

  17. betsybounds Says:

    Beverly, they’d never make it down on the border. And it wouldn’t take anything like a fortnight. Maybe a couple of hours, is all.

    Well, rickl, if that’s what happens come November and after, we’ll know we have double the fight on our hands. It’s easy to think all we have to do is vote for the leaders who are already there. It’s harder to think that we have to start from something like scratch.

    But we’d better be considering that possibility.

  18. betsybounds Says:

    Geoffrey Britain, Steele strikes me as the affirmative action Republican.

    For the rest of your post, I say, “Amen.”

  19. Tom Says:

    A much-needed return to a States’ Rights movement may, I fervently hope, be in its early gestation.

  20. SteveH Says:

    “”What the republicans lack is leadership with a vision of where we want to go and how to get there.”"
    Geoffrey Britain

    The problem is that leadership has to take Americans to places that turns people’s current sensibilities upside down. As long as drowning puppies and racial profiling gets people more outraged than home foreclosures, job losses and our enemies gaining WMD, they aren’t ready to be led anywhere.

  21. JKB Says:

    What exactly would the legal questions be?

    Question: Is is constitutional for states to require state and local law enforcement to enforce federal law?

    Question: Is it constitutional for a law enforcement officer who reasonably suspects someone they are lawfully in contact with of being unlawfully in the United States to make reasonable efforts to determine the person’s immigration status?

  22. betsybounds Says:

    Question: Is it constitutional for the federal government to require state and local law enforcement to enforce federal law?

    Question: If there is a state law requiring a state law enforcement officer who reasonably suspects someone they are lawfully in contact with of being unlawfully in the United States to question said person’s residence status, is it constitutional for said officer to investigate such status?

    Question: How far must private citizens (such as construction contractors) go in enforcing laws of any kind? Isn’t this what their taxes supposedly pay others to do?

    How close are we to troubling with the number of angels capable of dancing on the heads of pins? And how much good will such a debate do us?

  23. JKB Says:

    Oh and is it constitutional for New York City to arbitrarily stop and frisk individuals (90% being black or Hispanic) but more importantly 88.2% released without action? Well, except for being documented in a database. That’s right, stop and frisk has been ruled on by the SCOTUS.

    So if you can stop and frisk someone for a “furtive movement”, can you not also check their immigration status?

    I’m not for stop and frisk but if Obama is going to castigate Arizona maybe he should also castigate deep blue NYC for a decade long abuse of citizens. But then, there is no report of NYC checking immigration status so I guess it’s okay.

  24. JKB Says:

    Question: How far must private citizens (such as construction contractors) go in enforcing laws of any kind? Isn’t this what their taxes supposedly pay others to do?

    I’m not sure how private citizens came into play here but if that private citizen is an employer federal immigration law requires that they “must verify that an individual whom they plan to employ or continue to employ in the United States is authorized to accept employment in the United States.”

  25. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    SteveH has a good point, until people are ready to be led, they’re not going anywhere. That said, leaders need to emerge before the crises hits, that way people have a history to evaluate, if they didn’t see it coming, they can’t possibly see the way out of the crises. Leaders who emerge after a crises are invariably demagogues.

    Federal immigration law requires that an employer “must verify that an individual whom they plan to employ or continue to employ in the United States is authorized to accept employment in the United States.”

    Therein lies part of the problem. Employers should have to collect and transmit to an appropriate agency identification that purports to prove a prospective employees citizenship or green card status. They should not have to verify citizenship.

    If they fail to do so and are caught, it should be a felony and there should be mandatory and serious jail time.

    Adjust legal immigration levels so as to allow the needed degree of immigration for the economy’s needs.

    That, plus real enforcement with real consequences is the way to control illegal immigration.

  26. Tom the Redhunter Says:

    Fact is there is a large constituency that is in favor of illegal immigration but won’t say so directly. So they hide behind other arguments. They say “oh gee, look at all these illegals in the country. We can’t deport them, our only option is amnesty” and “this law profiles, is racist” on and on.

  27. Oblio Says:

    I worked three years in Switzerland. I always carried my Permis B with me, and I usually had my passport as well. There are restrictions on legal foreigners buying property. The Border Police are not exactly tenderhearted when it comes to detaining and deporting workers whose papers aren’t in order. There are still plenty of illegals, however, if you need a black market plumber or housemaid.

    Maybe the new Narrative should be, “Let Arizona be like Switzerland.”

  28. Curtis Says:

    An attempt at BetsyBounds Question: Is it constitutional for the federal government to require state and local law enforcement to enforce federal law?

    Easy answer: NO. We are not a banana republic. State enforcement officials are empowered by their state constitutions and do not answer to any other authority.

    It is the President’s job as executor to enforce “enumerated” powers as given by the U.S. Constitution. Obviously, he must have capability to do that. He and his agents enforce federal law.

    Can you think of any federal law which would require non-federal enforcement? Taxes, commerce violations, and crime involving passing state lines are covered by the IRS and FBI. Civil rights have the EEOC.

    What constitutes “enumerated” powers is disputable. Hopefully, “enumerated” powers are very limited and will not require a horde of federal enforcers. But questions abound. Do they have to be explicity named in the Constitution? And what can be included in each, say for example, the commerce power, which was named as the foundation for health care.

    And what about emergencies and quasi-emergency situations exactly like the immigration problem? A federal government can come in very handy at times–something General Washington discovered during the Revolutionary war. But then, we should never forget the Reichstag fire.

    On the whole, our North Star is the idea of a very limited federal government. But if such is not your idea or cup of tea, then you’ll see the federal government as the answer to all of life’s problems.

  29. betsybounds Says:

    JKB, private citizens came into play here because employers are private citizens. The federal requirement that employers verify lawful residency status for prospective employees is currently a requirement that is honored more in the breach than in the observance: No one really checks up on it in any systematic way, as far as I know, except that every now and then an enforcement action is carried out against employers. It’s the sort of thing of which a lot of people are guilty, and enforcement has the potential of being almost whimsical: If they’re looking for something on someone, that’s often a findable offense. It’s not just construction contractors and landscaping companies. The hiring of illegals was pretty widespread amongst well-to-do families looking for such things as in-home child care, house cleaning, and personal gardening, back when we lived in Texas. I’d guess it still is. Requiring such employers to be sure of immigration status under those circumstances isn’t just enforcement buck-passing, it’s fantasy.

    The bottom line is that it’s a federal, not a private sector, responsibility to make our borders secure and to maintain internal security. If the good citizens of Arizona and other states had evidence that this was being done–or even attempted–at the federal level, they would probably not mind pitching in at individual (i.e. employer) levels. But this is not the case, and making private citizens responsible for enforcing laws on which the government abdicates has led, at least in Arizona, to citizens’ expecting responsibility from a lower government level. That will continue.

  30. Julia NYC Says:

    Go Arizona!

  31. Artfldgr Says:

    The House passed on Thursday night the Puerto Rico Democracy Act (H.R. 2499)

    this will allow a whole new set of voters for 2012..

  32. Artfldgr Says:

    to bad no one listend to the belittled conservatives and others warnign of commnism in the 60s..

    just think of the prosperous difference it would have made and how we wouldnt be worried now.

    but no… they were turned into tin hatters and conspiracy theorists. a term that did not exist before the 60s, as it was created to negate the information historians, and analysis, and others who were very emphatic about who, what, where and what connections and ideas would lead to.

    now we are trying to reverse in less than 5 years a 100 year march from the cultish early commune societies in the US in the 1800s, like moses harmon, and such (including a similar liking for lucifer as alynsky.. ie same ideas, different people, new ignorants to play), and the terrorist feminist who also took up harmons ideas.

    5 years to undo 100 years of cultural manipulation…

    of course we no longer even have the ability to stop them even logically…

    what would you do with them if you did round them up now that you let them make tribbles?

    we had chances…
    now we have to live through it..
    no preventing it..

    even if it doesn’t end that way, we are going to have to get to the other side by going through it.

    back then we could have gone around it.

  33. will Says:

    I worked for a number of years in “Human” Services (don’t ask me why) and learned some stuff, that I believe is also relevant. Asking people in certain areas of the U.S.for their ID is and can very problematic. In the big city, men of certain cultures do not carry I.D. I can remember asking repeatedly for I.D. when processing intake forms, and it was akin to asking for blood. Clients, (all born here…for generations) would scream bloody murder about delayed benefits, but would rather do nearly anything but reveal their identity. Very often their actual name had nothing in common with what they had told me. I believe other than Al Sharpton’s deep love (eh-hem) for hispanics, this has a lot to do with the great beast representing in AZ. He know’s what this bill signals, and desperately does not want it to spread. The idea that illegal immigrants (his home town being chock-full) or anyone else having to respond to law enforcement is highly offensive and cramps severly their style.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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