July 2007

A judge tells one city to let the feds handle immigration. But where are the feds when you need them?

A telling irony shines through last week’s ruling by a federal judge that found only Congress can set immigration law. The judge knew full well that half the plaintiffs in the case were in the US illegally. But he let them challenge a city ordinance on immigration anyway – and anonymously. And so it’s been in America for too long: Turn a blind eye to the massive lawbreaking of an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

Imagine if a scofflaw wanted by the FBI had sued a city for enacting a criminal law tougher than a federal law. Would that person also be given a day in court? No way. The difference, of course, is that FBI agents are vigilant in catching suspects. But federal immigration agents? Well, they do their best whenever Congress or the White House gives them a clear green light and enough resources. After all, for politicians, those millions of illegal immigrants are potential voters for whichever party gets the credit in winning them amnesty someday.

But back to the court decision itself: Should state and local governments be allowed to enact laws that penalize landlords or companies that do business with illegal immigrants and fail to check their US residency status? In a 1986 law, Congress clearly said no, despite a long precedent in the 19th century of states regulating immigrants coming into the US. The Pennsylvania city of Hazelton, however, passed such a law and then lost the first round in the courtroom of US District Judge James Munley. The judge even postulated that perhaps the federal government does not seek “the removal of all aliens who lack legal status.”

The city plans to appeal. The case, or one like it, will make an interesting Supreme Court decision in a year or so. Last April, for instance, the high court did allow states to exceed federal rules on greenhouse gases.

For now, this lower-court ruling does not apply in most of the country. That’s just as well because as many as 100 other cities and towns have similar measures cracking down on illegal migrants – all because the federal government is falling down on the job. Hazelton, for instance, has seen its population balloon with immigrants since 2001, straining schools and other resources. By some estimates, a quarter of the 30,000 residents are now illegal. The city, like many in the US, suddenly became a magnet for migrants drawn to cheap housing and low-wage jobs.

Strangely, Hazelton officials didn’t get to face their accusers in court during this trial because they were allowed to remain nameless – nor did federal immigration agents show up to arrest the plaintiffs.

Another critical court case may be the legal challenge to an Arizona law, due to take effect Jan. 1, that sanctions employers who hire illegal aliens. Courts tend to give states more leeway than cities or towns to one-up federal law.

In the meantime, many cities are taking another route: training police to alert federal agents whenever they detain suspects for a local crime who can’t prove their legal status. All this shows the urgency for Congress to beef up immigration enforcement. The Hazeltons of the US can’t wait.



Post lifted from Keith Burgess Jackson. See the original for links

What is it with progressives? Why must they demonize everyone who doesn’t share their values? Read this [editorial in the NYT]. For a while, it looks as though the editorial board of The New York Times is going to stay focused on the arguments for and against enforcing immigration laws. But then, near the end of the opinion, comes the P-word. The mayor of the town in question is said to be “prejudiced” against immigrants. Two things.

First, no evidence is supplied that the man is prejudiced. It’s simply assumed that he is. That’s the opposite of charity. It’s indecency. Second, even if he were prejudiced, it would have no bearing on the merits of his argument for enforcing the immigration laws. As a philosopher, this shift from reasons to motives-from the grounds of belief to the causes of action-is dismaying, to say the least. I would like to think that every philosopher, including those of a progressive persuasion, would condemn this fallacious maneuver. That they don’t do so shows that they are progressives first and philosophers second. If you’re a student of philosophy, take note.

The opinion as a whole is filled with vicious, manipulative rhetoric. The mayor is said to be a “vigilante” and to be “cruel.” Those who support enforcement of the law are said to be “harsh” and “inhumane”-and to want to “dehumanize” people. You know the Times is losing the argument when it resorts to abuse.

If you are a naturalized citizen you have papers. If you are here as a resident alien, you have papers. If you are here illegally, you don’t have papers.

So, the only people that need phony ID’s issued by the city of New Haven, or Senator Gil Cedillo’s drivers license bill for illegal aliens, is illegal aliens.

In other words Cedillo, and New Haven are willing to provide documentation to folks who are here illegally. Do you see something wrong with that?

Since New Haven has issued phony ID’s to illegal aliens, you would think that ICE would demand those records, then find those using the phony ID’s…they have not.

Wonder why the U.S. Attorney has not stopped the issuance of the phony ID’s? Actually, since everyone knows those using these IDs are illegal aliens, employers being shown the cards should know they would be violating the law to hire the card holder.


About 500 people gathered here Saturday to rally for and against immigrants’ rights, in a town that earlier this year applied for entry into a federal program that would give its police officers authority to enforce immigration laws. The rally was organized by anti-immigration groups who say federal authorities have been lax in using immigration laws to curb illegal entries into the country and in finding and deporting people who are here illegally.

Launching into fiery speeches from a stage, anti-immigration protesters blamed illegal immigrants for drug smuggling, taking jobs from U.S. citizens, murders and diluting American culture. “I will never accept English as a second language,” said Daniel Smeriglio, from Voice of the People USA, a Pennsylvania activist group. “You disgrace us.”

Across the street, about 150 people gathered in support of immigrants _ shouting, chanting and holding signs saying “Working people have no borders” and “Immigrants are not criminals.”

A team of 140 state, county and local officers wearing riot gear with helmets, batons and pepper spray were on hand. They arrested a man and woman for storming a stage and trying to destroy amplifiers as well as several others for fighting, Police Chief Pete Demnitz said.

Morristown, a suburban town about 30 miles west of Manhattan, would be the first New Jersey municipality in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement program if accepted. It would give city officers authority to check the immigration status of people and the power to bring civil immigration charges that are handled in federal immigration court. The 2000 Census found that nearly one-third of the town’s 18,544 residents were born in other countries, but does not give a figure of how many may be illegal.


Changes to immigration rules that make it more difficult for refugees to bring their families to Sweden have been criticized by the Swedish Board of Migration and the Red Cross. Previously people who have qualified as ‘quota refugees’ have been able to bring their families to Sweden under the quota refugee scheme. But under new changes introduced by the government, families do not qualify as quota refugees, according to Sveriges Radio. The changes mean that families have to apply separately for visas to Sweden once their relative has been accepted as a quota refugee.

Officials at the Migration Board say that this can often lead to women and children being left alone and vulnerable in their home countries. It is often impractical for them to seek visas in Sweden, particularly if they live in countries without Swedish embassies. A Red Cross spokeswoman told Sveriges Radio that worry over relatives left behind was making it more difficult for refugees in Sweden to integrate.


Comment from Arizona: Kyl’s amendment is one step toward a comprehensive solution of border problems

The Senate’s passage Thursday of the Border Security First Act must be the first step in a series of acts that eventually reform the nation’s immigration system comprehensively. The legislation, an amendment to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security appropriations package, would allocate $3 billion to fund more Border Patrol officers, fencing, unmanned aerial vehicles and other mechanisms that would help plug the porous U.S.-Mexico border. The measure is similar to the security-only portion of the comprehensive immigration-reform package that died earlier this summer.

Thursday evening, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who championed the failed comprehensive plan and the new security act, got the Senate to add $60 million to the amendment for improvements to the Basic Pilot Program, the federal database of those able to work in the country legally. Kyl said Thursday that he has not given up on the comprehensive approach, but it will be hard to accomplish this session. Thus, he said, he “took advantage of an opportunity on the Homeland Security appropriation bill to send a strong message that we’re serious about enforcement.” Kyl said the public is reluctant to accept reform until there is action on enforcement.

Without question, security must be part of immigration reform. The Star’s long-held position is that immigration reform must be comprehensive and include security, as well as a guest-worker program, workplace controls and an equitable system for dealing with the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants working in our country and contributing to its economy.

Kyl told us he hopes enforcement funding will encourage people to look toward other areas of reform. We hope he’s right and that the security boost placates the enforcement-only factions and that other aspects of immigration reform will be able to move forward. The $60 million boost for the Basic Pilot Program should help Arizona employers smacked by a draconian state law that requires verification of new employees’ legal status using the iffy system. Under the ill-conceived employer-sanctions law, a business’ license could be suspended and the workplace shut down — leaving all employees out of work — if the business knowingly hires an undocumented worker.

The law was a knee-jerk response by a frustrated Arizona Legislature to Congress’ inaction in solving the illegal-immigration problem. The law penalizes businesses and gives them responsibility for immigration enforcement without giving them adequate tools to meet the task. The unintended consequences of the law may be that U.S. citizens and folks legitimately in the country are denied employment because of an inaccurate database. This is a civil rights lawsuit against the state waiting to happen. The law goes into effect Jan. 1.

If the security amendment gets congressional approval and the president’s signature, it must be a beginning to solutions on illegal immigration. It will not end the problem.


Comment from Colorado

My local newspaper editor ran a piece the other day titled “D.R.: Immigration’s a numbers game” In it he wrote that “America gives out thousands of work visas, but we have millions and millions of jobs that our own natives have proven they can’t fill.”

And to him I respectfully respond:

I too have friends who complain bitterly about illegal immigrants and want them gone yesterday, and say build that wall now. And these friends of mine don’t hire workers without a second thought as is sometimes proclaimed. When these friends of mine hire new employees, they run the employees work eligibility information through the federal program titled Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements or “SAVE.”

The use of the Basic Pilot Program is free for employers, it is successful and it is utilized by those who do uphold the laws in our country based on Rule of the Law. As far as the border goes, we say build the fence as was already promised to the American people. Doing that in and of itself sends a strong psychological message. Much, in fact most, of this battle is mental, not physical.

The illegal alien issue breaks down to simple math but adding 1 plus 1 does not equal 2 as editor Rogers writes, not for lawful American families anyway. Enforce the law and the problem would self-resolve. “Do as I say and Not as I do” resolves nothing but doing as Aspen Police Department did of late does add up.

When ICE was notified that a self-proclaimed illegal alien was not only illegal in our country but had cocaine in his wallet and ICE refused to take him into custody, Aspen PD responded not with a wink and a nod, but instead with “We didn’t feel comfortable to let him go” so (Aspen) police took Orellana into custody.

Let me remind you, the man had cocaine in his wallet. It is a felony to possess cocaine in the amount of more than one gram. It is also against the law, criminal in fact, to enter America illegally under 1911 8 U.S.C.  1325 — Unlawful Entry.
Here is one for dear editor Rogers, friend of mine. You ask, “Why do illegals risk life and limb to come?” And the answer is “Because.” Because we lay out the Welcome Mat with many rewards and little repercussions.

Here are some simple numbers to factor in the mathematics game. The average illegal alien household pays $16 billion in taxes. But they use $26.3 billion dollars a year in welfare services! John Q Public provides that for them. We are John Q. Public folks. We taxpayers fund these welfare programs.

This so-called Cheap Labor doesn’t come cheap; it carries a costly Behind the Scenes price tag. Multiply this by the millions and the numbers compound. Middle-class America is strained almost to our breaking point.

Our own Congress reports the following in regards to immigrants living in America and welfare support provided by the taxpayers.

“It continues to be the immigration policy of the United States that aliens within the Nation’s borders not depend on public resources to meet their needs but rather rely on their own capabilities” and yet “despite the principle of self-sufficiency” aliens have been applying for and receiving public benefits from Federal, State, and local governments at increasing rates.

Our American ideals are best served by “balancing the work papers with the number of jobs that need doing, including in this valley” writes my editor pal. Yep. But he omits the following. Each low-skill illegal alien household will cost U.S. taxpayers $1.1 million dollars over their lifetime per the Heritage Foundation on a study of welfare programs available in America, April 2007. And what happens when a `local’ hears the following, as I did, broadcast on National Public Radio with our own Eagle County Commissioner Menconi as an honored guest?

Well, I write about what I hear. John Burnett, NPR News closed his talk show with this statement; “American employers are hooked on cheap immigrant labor, both legal and illegal, but a longtime housekeeping supervisor in Vail offers a cautionary word to the backers of a new guest worker program. She says back in 1986 when immigration reform granted amnesty to more than two million undocumented immigrants, guess what was the first thing her Mexican hotel maids did when they got their papers? Many quit their jobs and looked for better ones. And what did the employer do? Rather than raise salaries, she replaced them with new immigrants who were, as she said, hungrier for the work.”

And do note dear reading public, the “1986 immigration reform” was for agricultural workers. Not hotel maids.

America does give out thousands of work visas. In fact, talking in blunt numbers here, we give out more guest-worker visas than anyone in the world. The 35.2 million immigrants (legal and illegal) here in March of 2005 is the highest ever recorded – two and a half times the 13.5 million during the peak of the last great immigration wave in 1910 per the Center for Immigration Studies. These are indisputable facts.

To me, the mathematical solution is simple. Until our local, state and federal agencies can tell Americans exactly the numbers we have residing here and of those people, who is entitled to walk on our streets and who is not and what will be done with those illegal aliens who are intercepted one way or the other during the course of everyday activities, until then, no amnesty, no new guest-worker plan, no additional guest-worker visas.

I will agree with Editor Roger’s final comment of the majority of Big Business and government having a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude, but I will end my paragraph with a different statement. Remove the enticements and rewards of illegal residency. We, the United States of America, are a nation founded under the Rule of the Law. So we might want to start asking when it was that our country’s leaders forgot about that part. Because in doing so they also forgot about the lawful residents living here.


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