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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thinking about the upcoming “immigration rallies” planned for tomorrow, supposedly in 70 cities, I wondered if perhaps we’d see a repeat of how the Tea Parties were covered. For example:
I wonder if the rallies will be characterized as “all brown” as the Tea Parties were tagged “all white” (and thereby “racist”)?
I wonder if the press will go African-American hunting like they did with the TPs (minus Al Sharpton and his posse, of course)?
I wonder, if they find any, whether they’ll ask them if they feel “uncomfortable” attending the rallies?
I wonder if the left will come up with a clever sexual slang name for those protesting – “brownbaggers” for instance?
And, finally, I wonder if our politicians will characterize those attending as thugs, racists, brownshirts, fascists and astro-turf?
I’m sure you have a few questions of your own. Feel free to leave them in the comments.
Reuters dutifully reports that the Arizona immigration law has “energized Democrats and Hispanics”. Reuters adds that both are “furious” about the bill and there are plans afoot to have massive May Day rallies in 70 cities. Calls for boycotts against the state are rising. Says one Democratic Representative:
“What Arizona has done is that it has galvanized, united, fortified, focused our immigration movement,” Democratic Representative Luis Gutierrez declared at the news conference.
Well, it may have done precisely that – but it may also end up with those who supported the bill just as “galvanized, united, fortified and focused”. Because also noted in the article is a poll which says 64% of those in the state support the bill. We’ve heard from a few of them here. And they’re pretty stirred up about all of this. My guess is – and it is only that at this point – that the poll isn’t too far off from what might be found nationally.
If that’s the case, the possibility exists that the upcoming and promised “massive” demonstrations may have the same effect on supporters of stronger immigration laws such as Arizona’s to become just as energized as Gutierrez believes the law has done for the opposition.
Recall, if you will, the last time large rallies were held to protest the enforcement of immigration laws. While they were quite a spectacle, they didn’t quite have the effect for which supporters hoped. They certainly increased the visibility of the problem, but they also saw the majority of the people say “secure the border first” before you talk about reforming immigration. My guess is nothing has changed in those priorities with the public.
Secondly, politicians need to tread lightly here if they don’t wish to be seen championing the cause of law breakers and illegal immigrants against the wishes of American citizens. This is one time the “fairness” argument isn’t going to win them anything. Americans do not see it as “fair” that illegals are protected from the consequences of their illegal entry and they’re stuck with the bill supporting their health care and schooling.
So this will all be interesting to watch in the coming few weeks and months. I still don’t think they get anything done legislatively, but – as we’re already seeing – the rhetoric is going to be increasingly heated and nasty – and, this rally against Arizona may end up coming back and biting those who foment it and support it in the posterior.
UPDATE: According to Gallup, among those Americans who have heard of the Arizona law, a majority support it.
And that message: is if your political opponents are in a hole of their own making, don’t throw them a rope.
That’s precisely what Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was in the middle of doing prior to this past week. He was the lone Republican Senator working on the “climate” bill with Senators John Kerry (D-VN) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Additionally, he was also the only Republican Senator working on immigration.
This past weekend, Graham pulled out of the cap-and-trade “climate” bill, leaving it in doubt – although word now has it that it was Harry Reid (D-Desperate) who decided it must wait for immigration. That would actually make sense since it is Harry Reid who is in re-election trouble in a state with a large Hispanic population who’ve complained Democrats haven’t done anything with immigration.
Graham seems to have finally awakened to the fact that he has an opportunity to slow both cap-and-trade and immigration down and hobble the administration’s agenda in this Congress. Today he made it clear that immigration was off the table, as far as he was concerned, for this year – if not next:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, the sole Republican working on a bill to legalize illegal immigrants, in effect put the bill on the shelf on Tuesday, saying that a debate now would destroy any prospects for passage and that the issue needs to wait until 2012.
The remarks likely signal the end of any serious chance for broad immigration legislation to pass this year, since Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, was the best hope for a partnership with President Obama and Democrats who want to write a bill.
Unlike the cap-and-trade bill, there has been no immigration bill yet written. So, given the process, even given priority, legislation would take months and months before passage. Graham was the forlorn hope of Reid and the Democrats on immigration. He effectively slammed that door in Reid’s face yesterday. And he’s playing some smart politics in how he’s framing his decision. He’s tapping into that latent anger within much of the country about the refusal of the federal government to secure the borders.
“It is impossible for me and any other serious Democrat to get this body to move forward until we prove to the American people we can secure our borders,” Mr. Graham told Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who was testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
“I believe we can do it by 2012 if we’re smart,” he said.
Ms. Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona, disagreed with Mr. Graham’s evaluation of border security. She said she knows the southwest border as well as anyone and, by every measure Congress has laid out, the border is more secure: Fewer illegal immigrants are being apprehended, and more fencing and infrastructure have been deployed.
But under close questioning by Mr. Graham, Ms. Napolitano could not say whether she would declare the border secure if she were still the governor of Arizona. She called it an “unfair question.”
“It is a fair question, and I’ll give you my answer: I don’t think it is,” Mr. Graham said. “I think since the last effort to solve immigration the border situation has deteriorated.”
Popular position that plays well to the Tea Partiers and again points to ineffective government. Essentially, in one week, Graham has made the completion of the Democratic/Obama agenda much, much more difficult – if not impossible – during this session of Congress.