Sunday, June 27, 2010

Illegal Immigration: The US Government to Sue Arizona over SR1070

Recently Mexico’s ambassador to the United States asked the Obama Administration to take steps to inviolate Arizona’s new tough anti-illegal immigration law, SR1070. Seriously. To put it another way, a representative of a foreign country has asked our federal government to overrule a law which was lawfully enacted by a sovereign state in order to permit its citizens to continue engage in illegal activity in another country. Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon addressed Congress in May, and ripped Arizona’s anti-illegal immigrant law (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/05/20/mexicos-calderon-takes-case-congress/). As a result, Obama, who has never liked Arizona’s law, has ordered the Justice Department to begin taking steps to bring a lawsuit against Arizona.

The announcement, interestingly, didn’t come from Attorney General Eric Holder, but rather from an interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview with an Ecuadorian newspaper. It is expected that the Justice Department’s lawsuit will allege that Arizona overstepped its jurisdiction by enacting legislation restricting illegal immigration, which also imposes some rather stiff penalties on anyone employing illegal residents. Central to their argument will be that only the US State Department, at the direction of the US Government, has legal jurisdiction in establishing immigration policy.

Frankly, I’m looking forward to seeing this lawsuit go forward since the Justice Department will be on some rather soft legal ground. The US Government reserves the right to establish national immigration policy. Ok, that’s a given. However, states have the right to enact supplemental or supporting legislation (something akin to an addendum) to federal legislation, so long as it does not conflict with federal legislation. In this case, the federal government has, at best, an ad hoc policy when it comes to illegal immigration. Both Republican as well as Democrat administrations, dating back to Clinton and George W Bush, have been woefully lagging behind public opinion (which has been hovering around 70% for a couple of decades now) to enact a comprehensive and enforceable national policy ending illegal immigration (remember “the wall”? It remains unbuilt due mainly to a lack of funding).

Arizona’s law, however, is in compliance with existing US law (such as it is). The law, which was closely reviewed before passage just in case the feds attempted this sort of thing, is totally in compliance. In fact, the law simply adds an extra set of teeth to existing federal law and more importantly, provides the tools for enforcement; something US law lacks. As a result, I expect the Justice Department will not only loss this battle, but it will set the stage for other states to follow suit along Arizona’s lines. It may also embarrass Washington lawmakers enough to finally get off their collective duffs and do something. Hopefully, any comprehensive federal legislation will address those not just the “hard” criminals engaged in smuggling, but also the “soft” criminals such as individuals who knowingly employ illegals (housecleaners and gardeners come to mind), along businesses as well as those who aid or harbor illegals, including private charities or religious institutions. The new law would hopefully do away with the outmoded idea of “natural citizen” which would prevent children born in the US by women here illegally from becoming automatic US citizens. The new law should include steps for illegals now living here to become US citizens, including learning English, civic classes, and four years of mandatory military or public service.

In a related matter, did you know that the US Government has effectively ceded three Arizona counties to Mexico? No kidding (http://www.personalliberty.com/liberty/ceding-arizona-to-mexico/). One of the topic discussed with Mexico’s Felipe Calderon concerned the escalating drug and human trafficking problem; a problem which Mexico has all but lost. The Obama Administration has ordered the posting of signs along three counties in Southern Arizona ordering US citizens to stay out because of illegal activity. American citizens are told not venture in; camp near; or interact with anyone in the area. If they see anything, there are to get out of there immediately and call 911. Since when did the US Government decided to surrender American soil to anyone for any reason?

Drug lords in Mexico control entire states. Is it happening here? A Pinal County Deputy Sheriff was shot in May of this year by alleged drug smugglers in what was described as an “ambush”. Pinal County Sheriff, Paul Babeu recently said in an interview that his police department, as well as the local government, have been threaten with assassination, including that of their families, by the drug lords if they should take any steps to interfere with their illegal activities. Is that next for the US? Do we need anymore reasons for an effective (and enforceable) national policy pertaining to illegal immigration? Check out ABC.15.com’s article at: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_central_southern_az/other/mexican-drug-cartels-now-control-parts-of-arizona for more. I also recommend you take a look at this blog site as well: http://borderviolenceanalysis.typepad.com/mexicos_drug_war/2010/06/pinal-county-sheriff-mexican-drug-cartels-now-control-parts-of-arizona.html.

As if this couldn’t get any weirder, California has begun to take steps to boycott all goods to and from Arizona because of its recent law (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/). Mexico has a filed a brief as “friend of the court” asking that the Arizona’s SR1070 be overturned (and in doing so, joins the ACLU). Given its own financial crisis, I don’t see how California can justify cutting off its nose despite its two faces. So, let’s take a look at California’s illegal immigration problem for a moment.

According to the Orange County Almanac, there were 2,209,000 illegal residents living in California as of 2000. That’s 32% of all illegal aliens living in the United States (there were an estimated 7 million in the US as of 2000. That number is closer to 12 million now). Of that, 185,000 were living in Orange County. (http://www.ocalmanac.com/Immigration/im04a.htm)

Illegal immigration costs California taxpayers approximately $10.5 billion annually. $7.7 billion dollars of this go to educating the children of illegal residents. This doesn’t include the costs associated with providing special texts books, bilingual tutors, etc. $1.4. billion dollars each years goes to providing essentially “free” healthcare to illegals living in California. Another $1.4 billion dollars is spent each year for the upkeep of illegals serving time in prisons throughout California (most for drugs or violent crimes). Once again, this doesn’t include the costs of guards and associated costs (http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/immigrationnaturalizatio/a/caillegals.htm and http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=iic_immigrationissuecentersffec).

While I can only guess that the real reason for California move toward a boycott of Arizona is that misery loves company, here’s the real irony to the story. Should California actually move forward with a boycott, Arizona could request the intervention of the Justice Department due to violations of interstate commerce laws. I can just imagine the look on Attorney General Eric Holder’s face as he informs President Obama that the US Government has to come to the aid of Arizona.


Book Review

Original Sinners: A New Interpretation of Genesis
By John R. Coats

I just recently finished reading Original Sinners, a 213 page book written by John Coats. As a lifelong student of theology, the Bible can be confusing and often contradictory. Many people complain about being able to relate to the characters, removed from us by thousands of miles and thousands of years. Empires come and go. Cultures rise, evolve, and fade. But the one thing that hasn’t changed that much, and remains pretty much the same regardless of time or place is human nature. In that, we are pretty much the same. What motivated Eve, Jacob, Rebecca, or Joseph pretty much motivates us today. The other thing many people have difficulty with is the language. The Bible is very difficult to accurately translate. The words often don’t have the same meaning to us as they did for their original audience thousands of years ago.

The beauty of this book is that Mr. Coats does a masterful job of “humanizing” the characters, from Adam to Joseph (did you know, for instance, that “adam” was actually a Hebraic word for “human being” and not a person’s name? Just as Adam was, well, an “adam”, so was Eve!). At the same time, the author takes the core of the story, such as Noah and Flood, and places it in a modern context by relating his personal experiences, and in doing so, offers the reader to do the same thing. Once you understand what the biblical author was trying to say, and thanks to Mr. Coats, place it into our world, the story comes alive and becomes more relevant. I strongly recommend you check out this book.
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