Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence:
Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out;
those who should not be here should be required to leave.
— Barbara Jordan (1936-1996)
Texas Congresswoman and Chair,
U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform
The nation needs another Barbara Jordan about now, as television’s liberal talking-heads join President Barack Obama in chastising the state of Arizona and any Americans who dare acknowledge the current wave of illegal aliens crashing U.S. borders and trashing state and local budgets.
It has become politically incorrect even to mention the impact of “undocumented immigrants” on crime in Arizona and other states and on the cultural, educational, social, and welfare aspects of life in the United States.
On April 23, 2010, Governor Jan Brewer signed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act passed by the Arizona Legislature. In the fury that followed, independent and conservative commentators have asked the president, the Congress, and the news media to “just read the bill” before branding it unconstitutional.
The Arizona law attempts to protect citizens from crimes committed by illegal aliens — crimes such as murder, kidnapping, rape, driving under the influence, vehicular homicides, burglaries, and identity theft.
Even before Gov. Brewer signed the bill, President Obama made a preemptive strike to appease open-borders advocates. Denigrating the legislation as “misguided,” he claimed that it threatened to “undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”
The president threatened to loose his dogs of political correctness at the U.S. Department of Justice on Arizona and its citizens for civil rights violations.
During the presidential campaign of 2008, Barack Obama promised Hispanic voters that he would sign an immigration reform bill with amnesty for as many as 30 million illegal aliens. He promised that he would sign such a bill during his first year as president and that it would include family unity provisions allowing admission of additional family members.
In condemning the Arizona bill, the president chose his words carefully, knowing that U.S. citizens cherish fairness and trust between their police and local communities. U.S. citizens have a bond of trust with police officers; illegal foreign nationals do not.
Contrary to the propaganda of open-borders advocates, illegal aliens do not work with local police to report crimes and identify criminals. Meanwhile the U.S. Department of Justice National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC) reports that international criminal gangs are flourishing in almost every state of the union — gangs such as MS-13, Surenos, Latin Kings, Nuestra Familia, and the Mexico Mafia.
Arizona is not the only state declaring that the time has come to crack down on the violence of illegal alien gangs. Arrests of gang members occur routinely in Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin. In northern Virginia, FBI agents report that illegal alien gangs are moving across the state line into Maryland, which they call “the wild, wild East” and where illegal aliens are allowed to obtain drivers licenses.
Montgomery County, Maryland, following a surge of high-profile killings, suddenly admits that it has an illegal alien problem. Arizona, with its escalating illegal alien crime wave, has resorted to passing a state law that establishes a Gang and Immigration Intelligence team modeled on the Department of Justice Gang Intelligence Center.
Since the Arizona law closely tracks U.S. immigration laws, federal judges free of personal bias will have a difficult time declaring it unconstitutional.
The Arizona law does not apply to any person authorized by the federal government to be in the United States. The law prohibits transporting, moving, concealing, harboring, or shielding unlawful aliens. These unlawful acts are already felonies under federal statutes, which have been challenged and found to be constitutional. The Arizona bill also provides for use of the federal E-Verify program to confirm a worker’s employment authorization.
For open borders advocates, the most contentious part of the Arizona law permits state and local law enforcement officers, where “reasonable suspicion” that a crime exists, to ascertain whether a suspect is a foreign national unlawfully present in the United States. Law enforcement officers are required to check with federal authorities on a suspect’s immigration status.
Thus the Arizona law would not apply to a Hispanic guy taking his kid for an ice cream cone, as claimed by the president, or to any other situation that does not involve a law enforcement officer and a suspect of a crime. “Racial profiling” is prohibited in the original bill as well as in technical amendments to the law.
The real problems will occur when Arizona police officers attempt to contact federal immigration officers, who tend to evade and avoid contact with state and local police.
The history of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Customs Service is one of well-documented excuses for not enforcing federal immigration laws. Beginning as far back as 1965, federal enforcement inactivity has fit hand in glove with muddled efforts by Congress to write effective immigration legislation. The new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is faring no better.
Meanwhile, immigration reform bills are winding their way through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The House bill (H.R. 4321), introduced in 2009 as the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act, looks like an amnesty bill.
On May Day, 2010, Representative Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., co-sponsor of H.R. 4321, took part in a demonstration against the Arizona law held outside the White House.
Wearing a tee shirt that read “Arrest me not my children,” Representative Gutierrez allowed himself to be arrested.
Demonstrators claim that state law enforcement officers are incapable of making judgment calls on the reasonableness of acts when investigating possible law violations. In actuality, state police routinely make judgment calls on traffic violations, property crimes, domestic violence, assaults, rapes, and murders, more frequently than do federal agents.
Demonstrators question the legality of requiring identification papers of anyone, despite the fact that legal immigrants and visa holders are required to carry their immigration papers with them at all times. In Arizona, drivers licenses, voter registration cards, visas, or U.S. passports are acceptable IDs.
Legal precedent supports the constitutionality of the Arizona law. Federal appeals courts (Fifth and Ninth circuits) have upheld convictions of activists who violated U.S. immigration laws by transporting and harboring illegal aliens.
At the least, the Arizona law serves as a wake-up call to Congress to strengthen enforcement provisions of immigration laws that have been weakened by decades of capitulation to immigrant special interest groups.
Meanwhile, the world watches as Arizona, cast in the role of David armed with a slingshot, catches the attention of the giant federal government.
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