Where exactly is President Barack Obama going on immigration? This question is being asked increasingly by the U.S. electorate (legal and illegal). Obama’s stance on immigration is as indecisive as his fiscal policies.
His repeated assurances of comprehensive immigration reform began five years ago. Then during the presidential campaign in 2008, he made passionate promises to the nation’s Hispanic community that comprehensive immigration reform would occur in the first year of his presidency, yet La Promesa de Obama goes unfulfilled.
|Obama addresses reporters on his plan for backdoor amnesty.
On June 15, 2012, Obama announced that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano was extending the concept of “prosecutorial discretion” to illegal alien children up to 30 years of age, many of these “children” with children of their own.
Obama’s announcement of backdoor amnesty was an election-year ploy offering a short-term fix for illegal alien children who came to the United States before their 16th birthday.
“Prosecutorial discretion” is not new to the Obama administration. His first wave of amnesty was promulgated on June 17, 2011, for illegal aliens of all ages involved in deportation proceedings.
In ruling on the Arizona immigration and public safety law (SB 1070), the United States Supreme Court found three sections unconstitutional, with a majority of the justices saying these provisions usurp federal powers. Section 2(B) of the Arizona law, which allows law enforcement personnel to ask persons stopped for another offense if they are illegal aliens, was found to be constitutional, at least for the time being. The opinion frees the federal government to enforce U.S. immigration laws or not, as it chooses, without interference from besieged border states.
Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion for Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor. Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito dissented. Kennedy stated that “Federal governance of immigration and alien status is extensive and complex.” The majority opinion asserted that the pre-emptive nature of federal supremacy over state sovereignty in immigration remains, even if the federal management is damaging to a state.
The three unconstitutional sections of the Arizona immigration law (SB 1070) dealt with warrantless arrests, if there is cause to believe a person committed a crime that makes him or her removable from the United States; making it a crime to fail to carry “alien-registration papers;” and making it a crime for illegal immigrants to work.
The part of the Arizona law that was deemed constitutional, Section 2(B), is considered the most controversial and key section. It requires law enforcement officers to make a reasonable attempt to determine a person’s immigration status, if a person is lawfully detained, stopped, or arrested. The Arizona immigration law (SB 1070) prohibits racial profiling.
The mixed Supreme Court opinion was not received well by the Obama administration. The president, immediately after the court’s decision, stated, “Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law (Section 2(B) of SB1070) in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the court decision recognizes . . .” Obama reiterated his administration’s use of “prosecutorial discretion” in dealing with illegal-alien students. He emphasized his administration would use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans.
On the very day of the Supreme Court decision, the Obama White House, through the Department of Homeland Security, terminated all remaining Section 287(g) agreements with Arizona’s state and local law enforcement agencies — stripping them of these federal funds.
Section 287(g) is an amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which is the foundation of modern U.S. immigration laws. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) amended INA to include Section 287(g), which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
Section 287(g) permits immigration officer functions to be performed by state and local law enforcement officers. Agreements between the federal government’s immigration agency and state and local law enforcement agencies were designed to facilitate proper detentions and/or arrests of illegal aliens who are involved with state and local police. Apparently the Obama administration is attempting to terminate all immigration enforcement agreements with state and local governments.
Termination of Section 287(g) funding in Arizona means illegal aliens detained or arrested at the state level can no longer be forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security. In effect, the president just gave illegal aliens a free pass in the state of Arizona, despite the Supreme Court’s opinion. The president’s claim to be protecting the civil rights of all Americans was a threat to Arizona that went unreported by the news media.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), in another blatant act of intimidation just hours after the president’s statement, opened a telephone and email hotline for the “public to report potential civil rights concerns” regarding Arizona’s SB 1070.
These federal actions were taken in retaliation for Arizona’s partial victory in having the Supreme Court find constitutional the key part of the Arizona immigration law.
James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.
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