Skip to comments.Michael Barone: Arizona and Immigration Reform
Posted on 06/28/2012 8:59:05 PM PDT by neverdem
The Supreme Court’s decision, announced Monday, in Arizona v. United States opens the way for sensible reform of our immigration laws.
Barack Obama and his administration have taken heart that the court overturned Arizona’s state penalties for illegal immigrants. The idea is that states can’t pile higher penalties on top of those voted by Congress, just as states can’t deport people whom Congress allowed into the country.
But the much more significant part of the case was the unanimous 8–0 (Justice Kagan not voting) ruling upholding the Arizona provision authorizing state and local law-enforcement personnel to help enforce federal law by asking those stopped for other reasons to show that they are citizens or legal immigrants.
This has been derided as a “where are your papers?” provision redolent of an authoritarian regime. But federal law has long required legal immigrants to carry their papers. And just about every adult carries a driver’s license or equivalent without feeling oppressed.
What seems out of date now is the attitude, common in some liberal circles, that it’s unsporting, if not oppressive, to enforce the law against illegal immigrants. Cities such as San Francisco have declared themselves “sanctuary cities,” with no obligation to enforce federal laws they don’t like.
The underlying theory seems to be that it’s unjust to bar anyone from entering our country. But that’s obviously nonsense. Under international law, we have no obligation to admit anyone to the United States except accredited diplomats. We open our borders to visitors and legal immigrants not because we have to, but because we think it’s in our interest to do so.
Now we seem to be moving, for a variety of reasons, toward a situation where we can control our borders and discourage illegal immigration far better than we have been doing for the last three decades.
One reason is the Arizona law that the court upheld, as well as similar laws in other states. Even more important is improved technology and our willingness to use it.
Arizona has required employers to use the recently improved E-Verify system to match job applicants and Social Security numbers, and census data suggests this has reduced the state’s illegal population significantly. Large corporations are using E-Verify, if only to protect themselves from bad publicity and expensive lawsuits. There’s a move to require its use nationally.
Certainly it’s not beyond our technological capacity to keep track of non-citizens. Visa and MasterCard manage to monitor a very large number of people with minimal error rates. India — India! — has issued unique identity cards to its 1.2 billion residents.
Back when our immigration laws were last revised, in 1986, both Left and Right hated the idea of national identity cards. But now we have such cards in all but name, and don’t seem to mind being tracked by our banks or by Google or Facebook.
For years we were told that effective enforcement was impossible. Now it’s becoming technically very feasible.
And for years we were told that the tide of illegal immigrants would continue inexorably for years and decades to come. But now the illegal population is dropping because of migration back to Mexico. And, in my view anyway, it’s unlikely to increase to previous levels again.
Barack Obama continues to address the issue as if the facts had not changed. When he speaks to Hispanic groups, he calls for immigration legislation with mass-legalization provisions, though he did nothing to advance it when his party had supermajorities.
And he’s attracted attention by announcing that his administration won’t deport young illegals who meet certain conditions — in line with the DREAM Act bill he couldn’t get Congress to pass.
In contrast, Mitt Romney, in his speech to a Latino group, limited his offer of citizenship to those who serve in the military. He was criticized for not setting out significant legalization provisions.
But Romney did address what is now the central problem with our immigration policy. And that is that current law is tilted against high-skill entrants who want to come here. We’re shutting the door on math and science Ph.D.s even as Canada and Australia are welcoming them in.
The upholding of the Arizona law helps reduce the number of illegals, even as we debate which of them should be allowed to stay. But the key issue now is how we facilitate high-skill immigration.
— Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner. © 2012 The Washington Examiner
This might sound like a stupid question but what the hell is wrong with the immigration laws that we aren’t enforcing now? The ‘RATS can’t import freeloading ‘RAT voters fast enough? We’ve spent trillions fighting poverty in this country and now we feel we need to import it? The people in this country really need to lighten up on the “recreational drugs”.
Barone is just the kind of guy referred to in the East Coast corridors that those inside the Beltway refer to when discussing "conservatism" (in their vernacular = "reasonable.")
Enacting laws, then not enforcing them because they don't want to, then pretending those laws are "broken and need fixing," then proceeding to write news laws to "fix the broken or unworkable laws," is DC's way of pretense of "doing the job the American people sent them to Washington to do."
This is so much crap and those of us not living inside that phony bubble, see right through it and wonder what is wrong with those people, why they can't see what's going on.
The awful truth here is that they don't wish to look at life as it is and pretend that it's something else entirely. They also hope that we don't notice or see the difference either and continue to give them our money and send them back to DC and sponge off us, enact laws that they never, ever intend to enforce and if they do, don't apply to themselves - only to US!
This is precisely why people just get sick and tired of politics.
I'm not sick and tired of politics, just sick and tired of politicians.
We the People deserve much better than what we've been given on either side of the aisle. When people used to say to me, "a pox on both their houses, there's not a dime's worth of difference between a dimocRAT and a Republican," I used to try and explain the difference.
Now, however, I can see that there really isn't much of one, or at least the ones living inside that DC cesspool - on my dime! It's high time to send them off packing and off my payroll.
Not sure how much of a difference a SCOTUS ruling makes when the Administration immediately cuts off Arizona from 287g ops and stops answering the phone when the locals call. I see this as Obama thumbing his nose at the court.
All of this is happening when DHS CBP has stated publicly that their number one priority is Arizona with the Rio Grande Valley in Texas a close second.