When it comes to illegal immigration, I continue to wonder who is in charge of our policy.
Yesterday, under increased pressure to enforce the federal immigration laws of the United States, President Obama ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to the border.
Then, as now, the troop deployment was fueled by heightened concerns about lawlessness — then it was illegal immigration, now it is drug traffickers — as well as political maneuvering in Washington to lay the groundwork for an effort to change immigration policy. But the issue remains bitterly contentious, with increasing pressure on Obama and lawmakers from both Latino supporters and conservative activists
Of course, this comes after giving Mexico’s hypocrite-in-chief, Filepe Calderon, a platform to defame and denigrate Arizona’s effort to stop the flood of predominantly Mexican illegals from pouring over the border.
In the wake of Obama’s decision concerning the deployment of the troops (which I’m sure, given Obama’s earlier joint comments on the subject, came as a surprise to Calderon), the Mexican Embassy in Washington DC issued a statement which said, in part:
Regarding the Administration’s decision to send 1,200 National Guard servicemen to the US Southern border, the Government of Mexico trusts that this decision will help to channel additional US resources to enhance efforts to prevent the illegal flows of weapons and bulk cash into Mexico, which provide organized crime with its firepower and its ability to corrupt.
Additionally, the Government of Mexico expects that National Guard personnel will strengthen US operations in the fight against transnational organized crime that operates on both sides of our common border and that it will not, in accordance to its legal obligations, conduct activities directly linked to the enforcement of immigration laws.
Because, you know, if it is aimed a the enforcement of immigration laws, and you are successful in securing the border and enforcing your laws, Mexico might actually have to do something to address the problems that see our citizens seeking work in another country.
Can’t wait to hear our reply, can you?
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Do you know John Morton? He’s the chief of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Note the last word in his agency’s name. Enforcement.
That’s his job. Yet he says:
Echoing comments by President Barack Obama and others in the administration, Morton said that Arizona’s new law targeting illegal immigration is not “good government.” The law makes it a crime to be in the state illegally and requires police to check suspects for immigration paperwork.
Morton said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona officials. The best way to reduce illegal immigration is through a comprehensive federal approach, not a patchwork of state laws, he said.
“I don’t think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution,” Morton said.
It really doesn’t matter what you think, does it Mr. Morton – your job is to enforce the federal laws against illegal immigration. And if a state sends you “illegal immigrants” which it has rounded up, I don’t believe you should have or do have any other choice but to “process” them.
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Anyone who reads this blog for more than a day or so is probably familiar with the fact that I’m not a big fan of hypocrisy. Especially when it presents itself as self-righteously as it did yesterday in the words of Mexican President Calderon. Specifically, this paragraph:
In Mexico, we are and will continue being respectful of the internal policies of the United States and its legitimate right to establish in accordance to its Constitution whatever laws it approves. But we will retain our firm rejection to criminalize migration so that people that work and provide things to this nation will be treated as criminals. And we oppose firmly the S.B. 1070 Arizona law given in fair principles that are partial and discriminatory.
Take sentence one – a country that allows the wholesale illegal immigration of a large part of its citizenship into the United States is respectful of nothing concerning the internal policies of the US or it’s “legitimate right” to establish its laws.
Second sentence: pure bovine feces. It’s a strawman – no law that I know of, either federal or state “criminalizes migration”. It make it a crime to try to immigrate ILLEGALLY. I.e. not go through the proper procedures as outlined in those law Calderon claims to so highly “respect”.
Last sentence – SB 1070 does not introduce “partiality’ or “discrimination”. It enforces federal laws already on the record (for instance, federal law requires all legal immigrants to carry their immigration identification paperwork with them at all times).
The real hypocrisy, however, comes from Mexico’s own immigration laws. If Arizona’s SB 1070 is “draconian” come up with a good description of these:
• Mexico welcomes only foreigners who will be useful to Mexican society:
– Foreigners are admitted into Mexico “according to their possibilities of contributing to national progress.” (Article 32)
– Immigration officials must “ensure” that “immigrants will be useful elements for the country and that they have the necessary funds for their sustenance” and for their dependents. (Article 34)
– Foreigners may be barred from the country if their presence upsets “the equilibrium of the national demographics,” when foreigners are deemed detrimental to “economic or national interests,” when they do not behave like good citizens in their own country, when they have broken Mexican laws, and when “they are not found to be physically or mentally healthy.” (Article 37)
– The Secretary of Governance may “suspend or prohibit the admission of foreigners when he determines it to be in the national interest.” (Article 38)
• Mexican authorities must keep track of every single person in the country:
– Federal, local and municipal police must cooperate with federal immigration authorities upon request, i.e., to assist in the arrests of illegal immigrants. (Article 73)
– A National Population Registry keeps track of “every single individual who comprises the population of the country,” and verifies each individual’s identity. (Articles 85 and 86)
– A national Catalog of Foreigners tracks foreign tourists and immigrants (Article 87), and assigns each individual with a unique tracking number (Article 91).
• Foreigners with fake papers, or who enter the country under false pretenses, may be imprisoned:
– Foreigners with fake immigration papers may be fined or imprisoned. (Article 116)
– Foreigners who sign government documents “with a signature that is false or different from that which he normally uses” are subject to fine and imprisonment. (Article 116)
• Foreigners who fail to obey the rules will be fined, deported, and/or imprisoned as felons:
– Foreigners who fail to obey a deportation order are to be punished. (Article 117)
– Foreigners who are deported from Mexico and attempt to re-enter the country without authorization can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. (Article 118)
– Foreigners who violate the terms of their visa may be sentenced to up to six years in prison (Articles 119, 120 and 121). Foreigners who misrepresent the terms of their visa while in Mexico — such as working with out a permit — can also be imprisoned.
• Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population says,
– “A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five thousand pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country illegally.” (Article 123)
– Foreigners with legal immigration problems may be deported from Mexico instead of being imprisoned. (Article 125)
– Foreigners who “attempt against national sovereignty or security” will be deported. (Article 126)
There are scads more you can read through that make what Calderon is squealing about seem like child’s play.
Calderon and Mexico are part of the problem, not part of the solution. And feting this crew who come here and mischaracterized immigration in general and what is going on in Arizona while doing nothing to stop the problem is simply nonsense. Until they begin to be part of the solution, they don’t deserve the time of day, much less a state dinner. Until they step up to stem the tide of ILLEGALS we owe them nothing. And the irony of having a immigration code of their own that is much more draconian than anything we have shouldn’t be lost in this either. They don’t put up with what they demand we put up with and we ought to call them on that.
But we won’t. Instead this administration will call out Arizona which has only attempted to enforce the laws the federal government refuses to do all the while Obama smiles and fetes the source of the problem and refuses to demand Mexico do anything on its end.
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When the office of President was created in 1787, its primary function was to be the face and voice of the nation to the world. Above all else, the executive branch represents Americans in the diplomatic and, when necessary, martial contexts to friend and foe alike. Given the foregoing, what exactly are we to make of Obama aligning himself with Mexican President Felipe Calderon against citizens of the United States?
Mexican President Felipe Calderón, arriving at the White House for a state visit, wasted no time today criticizing Arizona’s new immigration law as unfair and discriminatory.
The law makes it illegal to be in the United States without permission, and requires police to demand documentation from anyone suspected of doing so [ed. – Wrong, on both assertions]. Such a law, Calderón asserted at a Rose Garden news conference with President Barack Obama, will subject Mexican citizens to discrimination and was created so that people who “work and provide things to this nation will be treated as criminals.”
Obama also condemned the law, and left open the possibility he’ll try to block it.
Leaving aside the editorializing about Arizona’s law in this “reporting,” it’s a bit puzzling as to what Calderon is even complaining about. First of all, his country has far more draconian laws regarding illegal immigration than the U.S. Secondly, there is a real question regarding whom he thinks he represents. As Allahpundit noted:
I’m not sure which Mexicans Calderon’s presuming to speak for. If he means Mexican citizens who are in the country legally, fair enough. If he means illegals, i.e. if he’s actually complaining on behalf of people who aren’t even supposed to be here, his balls are even brassier than I thought. And if he means Americans of Mexican descent, he’s belittling Obama’s own authority. Last time I checked, if anyone’s going to do any diplomatic conveying on behalf of U.S. citizens, it’s the president of the United States.
What’s really sad is that, of the two heads of state, Calderon is the only one actually looking for the interests of his own people. For his part, Obama stood firmly against his own citizens and with the interests of another country:
President Obama left little doubt Wednesday that his administration will challenge Arizona’s divisive new immigration law, saying the measure “has the potential of being applied in a discriminatory fashion.”
After a private meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in the Oval Office, Obama denounced the state law cracking down on illegal immigration, and he also sent a clear message that a review led by Justice Department lawyers is likely to culminate in legal action.
Obama said that “a fair reading of the language of the statute” suggests those who appear to be illegal immigrants could be “harassed or arrested.”
Er, wouldn’t a “fair reading” involve, y’know, actually reading the law? To date, no one in the Obama Administration has bothered to do so, although they have all been quite ready to castigate it anyway.
The truly disturbing thing, however, is the sheer abdication loyalty (not to mention responsibility) on the part of our chief executive, by taking a hostile stance against those whom Obama (nominally) represents, all in support of the interests of the foreign nation most responsible for our border mess in the first place. It’s almost as if Obama thinks he represents the rest of the world in its dealing with Americans.
Perhaps, when Obama finally gets around to reading SB-1070, someone should slip a copy of the Constitution in there as well. He seems to have forgotten about … if he ever cared in the first place.
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Pew Research center has one of the more interesting polls out today. Below I note that the WSJ/NBC poll shows a majority of Americans – in fact 2/3rds – support the Arizona law. Pew found about 59% supported it. But they also found out that when broken down to its elements and polled on each element, more supported the elements than the overall law. That says to me that the campaign to discredit the law has had some success. Here are Pew’s numbers:
Note that in every one of the elements of the bill, those polled gave a higher approval rating than that which the overall bill received. They overwhelmingly support the requirement to produce documents verifying legal status (72%). To a little lesser extent they approve overwhelmingly that police should be allowed to detain anyone unable to verify their legal status (67%). And finally, a solid majority are fine with allowing police to question anyone they think might be in the country illegally.
Yet when it comes to support for the overall bill in which those are the three key elements, support drops to 59% – still a solid majority, but I think indicative of the successful attempts to discredit the bill.
Another interesting thing to note when considering the politics of this issue as it pertains to the Arizona law, is both Republicans, Democrats and independents polled supported the bill components in a majority (with Dems at 50% for the last component) but only Democrats had a majority against the law as a whole:
Speaking only to the politics of this, Dems are bucking a majority trend on the issue.
Last, but not least, Pew breaks this law and it’s support by age:
Again, other than one category, each age group supports the components of the bill with the level of support rising dramatically with the age of the person polled. Unsurprisingly, the youngest among them are the least likely to support the bill overall, even while a solid majority support the first component and a slight majority supports the second.
Once more, addressing the politics, most know that the youthful demographic isn’t the most dependable on election day, while older voters do indeed turn out and vote.
Pew goes on to disagree with the WSJ/NBC news poll below showing Obama’s job approval as unchanged at 47%. It also notes that his approval rating for handling immigration is at 25. It may explain why there’s really no stomach, at least at this point, among Democrats and the administration, to address the issue.
But, as stated below, the left may be cruisn’ for a brusin’ if they keep doing to Arizona what they’ve tried to do with Tea Partiers.
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Some polls out today. Even with the on-going oil spill in the gulf, a majority polled said off-shore drilling is something they support:
Even after the recent — and highly publicized — oil spill in the Gulf Coast, that’s the overwhelming sentiment from the public, with six in 10 Americans supporting more offshore drilling, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.In addition, a majority believes that the potential economic benefits of offshore drilling outweigh its potential harm to the environment.
“Highly publicized” doesn’t even begin to describe how the spill has been covered, yet Americans know that a) it will eventually be capped and b) drilling off-shore is vital to our economy and national interest (security). Now that’s all said with the understanding that to this point the containment of the spill has been mostly successful and mother nature has cooperated weather-wise in keeping the spill off-shore. My guess is those numbers might come down a bit if that changes.
Item 2 is the Arizona immigration law.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans back Arizona’s new controversial immigration law;
This is something that defies the claims of racism, bigotry and everything that the left tries to heap on Arizona. It signals a country dead tired of the status quo in immigration and if further signals an idea of how they want it handled. The left, as usual, is over reaching in their reaction and a backlash is most likely due and will come as the usual “complete surprise” to them.
Item 3 is the Times Square bombing attempt. 58% say they’re “worried this country will experience another terrorist attack”. Well duh. Of course it will – the only questions are when and how. Most likely what’s really bothering Americans is the fact that the last two attempts weren’t stopped by our designated protectors, but instead failed.
Here’s what bothered me about this part of the poll:
What’s more, a majority of Americans (52 percent) say they are willing to give up personal freedoms and civil liberties to prevent another terrorist attack.
You can’t live scared and you certainly don’t want to give up what you may not get back just to feel more secure. Again, as the last two attempts demonstrate, giving up more personal freedom and more civil liberties guarantees nothing. And if you do the numbers, a lightning strike is probably more likely to get you than a terrorist bomb.
Last item on this particular poll? Successful demonization of Wall Street has led to a belief among the majority that financial regulation won’t go far enough to “rein in Wall Street’s excesses”.
Additionally 80% of those polled are dissatisfied with the economy, Obama’s job performance numbers are up slightly and Republicans still enjoy an “enthusiasm advantage” heading into the midterms.
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Sometimes I just love the Democrats. After fomenting a near meltdown over the Arizona immigration law, with charges of nazism and cries of “show me you papers!” flying hither and yon, the Democrats introduce an immigration framework with what?
Improved papers, of course.
Yes, the Dems screwed the pooch and included a national ID card in their proposed legislation. And a biometric one at that. As someone characterized it, it’s a “super Social Security card”. Remember when you were assured that your SS card/number was not for identification purposes and never would be. Well Bunky, that was as true as most of the promises politicians make.
Democratic leaders have proposed requiring every worker in the nation to carry a national identification card with biometric information, such as a fingerprint, within the next six years, according to a draft of the measure.
Heh … how do Democrats kill the momentum working in their favor in an issue which might actually help them in November?
Totally misunderstand the point.
For once, I’m in complete agreement with the ACLU who wasted no time in savaging the plan:
“Creating a biometric national ID will not only be astronomically expensive, it will usher government into the very center of our lives. Every worker in America will need a government permission slip in order to work. And all of this will come with a new federal bureaucracy — one that combines the worst elements of the DMV and the TSA,” said Christopher Calabrese, ACLU legislative counsel.
Oh, and the Gestapo.
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Byron York reports that the Arizona Legislature and the Governor have made a few “tweaks” to address some of the fears of critics and more specifically define the law.
The first concerns the phrase “lawful contact,” which is contained in this controversial portion of the bill: “For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency…where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person…” Although drafters of the law said the intent of “lawful contact” was to specify situations in which police have stopped someone because he or she was suspected of violating some other law — like a traffic stop — critics said it would allow cops to pick anyone out of a crowd and “demand their papers.”
So now, in response to those critics, lawmakers have removed “lawful contact” from the bill and replaced it with “lawful stop, detention or arrest.” In an explanatory note, lawmakers added that the change “stipulates that a lawful stop, detention or arrest must be in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state.”
The law now stipulates specifically that unless the officer is first involved in a “lawful stop, detention or arrest” that officer cannot just demand papers based on a suspicion the person is there illegally.
The second change concerns the word “solely.” In a safeguard against racial profiling, the law contained the phrase, “The attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin.” Critics objected to that, too, arguing again that it would not prevent but instead lead to racial profiling. So lawmakers have taken out the word “solely.”
Whether it will satisfy the critics is, frankly, doubtful. It has been “politicized” now and that means that those who oppose it will most likely ignore, minimize or mischaracterize the changes in an effort to keep the issue alive. There’s a whole movement at stake here and the race warlords are most likely unwilling to give it up this easily. Additionally, those who want to see some sort of immigration reform law pushed through see this as giving the issue renewed visibility. They’re unlikely to let that go, even if the law is indeed more satisfactory in terms of protecting civil rights than in its previous iteration.
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A massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has prompted a large coordinated response from the owner of the rig, BP, and the U.S. government. President Obama addressed the issue in a short speech yesterday where he said:
Earlier today, DHS Secretary Napolitano announced that this incident is of national significance and the Department of Interior has announced that they will be sending SWAT teams to the Gulf to inspect all platforms and rigs. And I have ordered the Secretaries of Interior and Homeland Security as well as Administrator Lisa Jackson of the Environmental Protection Agency to visit the site on Friday to ensure that BP and the entire U.S. government is doing everything possible, not just to respond to this incident, but also to determine its cause.
I was immediately puzzled when I first heard this yesterday. Why on Earth would the DOI have SWAT (“S”pecial “W”eapons “A”nd “T”actics) Teams? What exactly would they need them for, and why would they be dispatched to “inspect” oil rigs in the middle of the Gulf? I was not alone in my puzzlement:
In an odd turn, Obama announced he’d be sending SWAT teams out to all oil rigs and platforms in the Gulf to inspect them, as pointed out by RealClearPolitics. We’re not sure what a Special Weapons And Tactics team is going to do on an oil rig but we’re pretty sure it’ll make good fodder for Tom Clancy’s next book.
I have to believe that Obama was being colorful in his language instead of literal. I checked the DOI website and could find no announcement about “SWAT teams” or any mention of such teams whatsoever. So, it must be the case that the man whose speeches cause tingles to run down the legs of newscasters, oceans to recede, and Nobel Prizes to fall from the sky simply misspoke.
One interesting thing to note is that DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s declaration of the oil spill as an incident of “national significance” brings the whole mess within her Department’s purview. That of course allows all sorts of resources not otherwise available (i.e. money) to be employed in the cleanup, but it also raises the question as to what exactly the limits of the DHS are. Apparently they are quite willing to spend gobs of money and effort (and possible deploy SWAT teams!) to tackle an invasion of viscous minerals upon our southern shores, but are completely uninterested in doing anything about an invasion of vicious criminals upon our southern border, other than to challenge the right of individual States to defend themselves. Perhaps Arizona should spill a bunch of oil along the border and see what happens.
Harry Reid must be thrilled.
Instead of addressing the problem that Arizona’s legislature and governor felt compelled to address, Obama decides he’d rather fling poo and put it off again.
Of course I’m talking about addressing the immigration problem. Given the fact that the administration has no desire at this time to address the issue, look for other states, such as Texas, to give what Arizona has done a hard look.
So let’s see, jobs aren’t a priority – something the American people have said they’d like to be the priority of government. The deficit, another people’s priority, is obviously not a priority – and now immigration reform is off the table.
It appears Obama sees a political opportunity in postponing it yet again:
The president noted that lawmakers may lack the “appetite” to take on immigration while many of them are up for re-election and while another big legislative issue — climate change — is already on their plate.
“I don’t want us to do something just for the sake of politics that doesn’t solve the problem,” Obama told reporters Wednesday night aboard Air Force One.
Immigration reform was an issue Obama promised Latino groups that he would take up in his first year in office. But several hard realities — a tanked economy, a crowded agenda, election-year politics and lack of political will — led to so much foot-dragging in Congress that, ultimately, Obama decided to set the issue aside.
With that move, the president calculated that an immigration bill would not prove as costly to his party two years from now, when he seeks re-election, than it would today, even though some immigration reformers warned that a delay could so discourage Democratic-leaning Latino voters that they would stay home from the polls in November.
Consider that last sentence carefully – it tells you a lot about what Obama expects to happen in November, and it’s not good news for Democrats. However he sees the opportunity, should the Congress go Republican, to use the issue as a wedge to energize the Latino base while blaming inaction on the GOP and enhancing his reelection possibilities. The only thing transparent about this guy is his politics and that’s only because they’re so obvious.
Meanwhile, Daniel Griswold at CATO makes an excellent point about how immigration reform is best handled. In fact, his point is good enough to make me reconsider my “secure the border first and then do reform” stance. First his analogy:
Requiring successful enforcement of the current immigration laws before they can be changed is a non sequitur. It’s like saying, in 1932, that we can’t repeal the nationwide prohibition on alcohol consumption until we’ve drastically reduced the number of moonshine stills and bootleggers. But Prohibition itself created the conditions for the rise of those underground enterprises, and the repeal of Prohibition was necessary before the government could “get control” of its unintended consequences.
His point, of course, is we have to address the reason illegals are here first before we can reasonably expect to secure the border. In other words, remove the incentive by making it easier to legally enter to do work here:
By essentially barring the legal entry of low-skilled immigrant workers, our own government has created the conditions for an underground labor market, complete with smuggling and day-labor operations. As long as the government maintains this prohibition, illegal immigration will be widespread, and the cost of reducing it, in tax dollars and compromised civil liberties, will be enormous.
We know from experience that expanding opportunities for legal immigration can dramatically reduce incentives for illegal immigration. In the 1950s, the federal government faced widespread illegal immigration across the Mexican border. In response, the government simultaneously beefed up enforcement while greatly expanding the number of workers allowed in the country through the Bracero guest-worker program. The result: Apprehensions at the border dropped by 95 percent. (For documentation, see this excellent 2003 paper by Stuart Anderson, a Cato adjunct scholar and executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy.)
I think he has a point – not that the federal government has any immediate plans to address it or the broader issue. Instead it will continue to condemn states for acting in the absence of its action and abrogation of its responsibility.
It is a disturbing, but typical example of how out-of-touch the federal government is with the priorities and needs of the citizenry and how captivated it has become of special interest groups.
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