Obama’s border response is a waste of time and money
By Robert M. Engstrom
For years Arizona sought Washington solutions to illegal immigration. The state acted because the federal government failed to respond to a growing border crisis. Gov. Janet Brewer’s pleas for help went ignored until the state passed a tough immigration enforcement law. The Washington response wastes money and does nothing to address the broken border crisis.
Arizona will share the president’s election-year token response of 1,200 troops and $500 million dollars with Texas, New Mexico and California. The presidential directive followed a contentious May 25 meeting between President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans. Obama left the meeting irritated by criticism after asking for Republican support for comprehensive immigration reform. Three attempts to increase the number of troops and funds through amendments to other legislation were rejected by Senate Democrats before the Memorial Holiday recess.
Arizona also gets a federal lawsuit that will cost millions better spent addressing the real problem—but this lawsuit isn’t against Arizona’s SB-1070 that makes it a state crime to be the country illegally.
Obama did order the Justice Department to review SB-1070 for civil liberties violations, but the DOJ is asking the Supreme Court to overturn a 2007 state law that targets employers who knowingly hire illegals. DOJ claims the law, defended in court and found valid, interferes with federal jurisdiction over immigration enforcement.
Arizonans hope Attorney General Eric Holder read that Arizona statute before filing the lawsuit. The Ninth Circuit Court already refused to overturn it. A smokescreen drama rehashing settled law distracts from the Obama administration’s hesitancy to contest SB-1070 outright. A judge might uphold SB-1070.
Attorney Kris Kobach, an immigration law specialist who drafted SB-1070, said the challenges to the law are heavy on rhetoric, but “light on legal arguments.” The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law professor and candidate for secretary of state in Kansas helped defend Arizona’s Human Smuggling Act in court and co-wrote the 2007 law.
Brewer was refused an audience with the president and got the cold shoulder from her predecessor, Department of Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano. While failing to prevent three radical Islamic terror attacks and making sure the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico is secure, Napolitano hasn’t had time to answer Brewer’s phone calls and emails. Brewer is in Washington this week discussing border security as part of a 10-governor council appointed by Obama to offer advice on topics like the National Guard and homeland defense. Reportedly, Napolitano hasn’t committed to meeting Brewer face-to-face. Then Gov. Napolitano signed the about-to-be challenged employer sanctions law.
The White House informed Brewer that Obama is too busy to meet with the assembled governors. Obama would have gotten another earful for failing to defend his own country against scurrilous attacks by Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon. (Update: The White House announced Tuesday that Obama has decided to meet with Brewer.) Calderon heads a government that encourages illegal immigration to the USA, but enforces truly draconian laws against those illegally in Mexico through an infamously corrupt legal system. He made unfounded charges that Arizonans and their law enforcement officers are racists. Scandalously, his remarks got a standing ovation from Congressional Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Calderon denies Mexico’s role and responsibilities in the border problems.
The misdirected demonstrations Saturday in Arizona attracted more than 20,000 marchers from around the country. Protestors broke the boycott to come to Phoenix by the busload. Waving a mixture of American and Mexican flags and signs accusing Arizona of racism and bigotry, the marchers set out on a five-mile route to the Capitol Building in high-90 degree temperatures. The protest brought a small economic boost to the convenience stores along the five-mile route.
While SB-1070 protestors demand that Obama keep a campaign promise of amnesty for illegals, supporters of the law just want the president to keep his oath of office and uphold the law of the land. Barring a court order to stop it, SB-1070 will not take effect until July 29.
A dozen Hispanic restaurant workers, never explicitly identified as illegal immigrants, skipped work and joined the protest to demand their “rights.” They were lost their jobs. One of the fired workers said restaurants can’t survive without immigrants, but the manager of the Chandler restaurant said the eatery had a successful day without the missing workers.
A smaller Buycott Arizona rally organized by Tea Party activist from around the country drew about 7,000 attendees Saturday evening. They support SB-1070, oppose the boycott and encourage vacationers to visit Arizona to show support. Brewer’s office reports thousands of dollars in donations are pouring in meant to help finance the legal battle against the federal challenges.
Arizona’s immigration enforcement law mirrors federal statutes and prohibits racial profiling. Since 1984, California’s immigration law requires local police agencies to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement of any detainee suspected of being in the country illegally, but does not prohibit racial profiling.
Hundreds of local law enforcement agencies in 24 states are currently empowered to enforce federal immigration laws under the federal 287(g) program. Seventeen other states are considering regulations similar to Arizona’s. The 40-year old federal laws enforced by numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies provide evidence immigration laws are enforced without racial profiling. In reality, the protestors are opposed to the federal law. The true goal of pro-immigration groups calling for comprehensive immigration reform is amnesty for the illegal immigrants already here and open borders.
To call the law racist is a specious charge. Illegal immigrants do not have a right, human or otherwise, to be in this country. Nor do they get to choose which U.S. laws shall apply to them. Arizona’s law, like the federal statute, applies equally to all regardless of race, color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation. The fact that the majority of illegals in Arizona and the U.S. are from Mexico does not make the law racist.
Mexico’s economy depends on the billions of dollars Mexicans illegally working in the United States send home. Mexico has a vested interest in increasing the numbers of workers here and the pro-immigration groups hawking comprehensive immigration reform have equally sinister ulterior motives for demonizing a conservative backed immigration crackdown—workers to be organized and voters who will support liberal politicians and nanny-state progressivism.
The porous border poses a darker threat to the U.S. Since 2007, hundreds of illegal immigrants from Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and seven other nations with terrorist ties were detained at the federal holding facility in Florence being smuggled across the border. In Texas, DHS issued a warning about a Somali terrorist trying to sneak across the border, while on a popular fishing lake near Zapata, Texas, armed Mexican pirates started robbing American boaters who venture near the borderline dividing the lake.
Obama’s 1,200 troops delegated to office duties and split among four states’ border areas is a feel-good, but ultimately meaningless gesture by Obama. Cochise County Sheriff Larry Deaver said it amounts “to spitting into the wind.”
Comprehensive immigration reform will not be accomplished by a single piece of legislation, but steps to begin the process, such as securing the border and following Arizona’s lead would start the process.