Thursday, July 3, 2014

Immigration Crisis: A Tale of Two Cities

Right now two southwestern cities are feeling the brunt of the immigration crisis.  Their responses could not be more different.

The federal government is sending busloads of illegal immigrants to Tucson.  It’s also sending them to Murietta, California.  The opposite ways in which those two cities have reacted tell you all you need to know about why this country’s immigration enforcement is in a state of collapse.

News coverage tends to gravitate to the most compelling pictures, and those have been out of Murietta.  Two days ago protesters met three busloads of crossers who were on their way to a Border Patrol processing station.  The demonstrators waved American flags and chanted slogans such as “Go back home!” “Deport! Deport!” and “Impeach Obama!” They waved signs reading “Stop Illegal Immigration,” “Illegals Out!” “We Came Here Legally!” “Take Care Of Our Veterans” and so on.

But some counter-demonstrators also were in the crowd, bearing signs such as “Bienvenido a California” and “American are Immigrants.”  Predictably, the two sides got into a shouting match over immigration--thereby perfectly capturing in microcosm the reason for our nation's immigration policy and enforcement paralysis.  But the anti-illegal immigration side succeeded in blocking the buses.

The shouting continued in a raucous town hall meeting Wednesday night.  “Do we have a handle—a real handle—on what this is costing us out of our pockets?” one citizen demanded.  “And please, use the word ‘illegal’ aliens!  They came across illegally!”  The crowd responded enthusiastically to the remark.

KUSI-TV reported that one county supervisor rejected the claim that the lack of immigration reform is to blame.  Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone declared, “We now find ourselves in this situation not because we do not have comprehensive immigration forum, but rather because we have a lack of political will to protect our borders.”

So many people showed up that not everyone could get into the high school auditorium where the meeting took place.  An overflow crowd gathered outside, with police there in force to keep opposing demonstrators from tying into it.

Tucson also is getting busloads of immigrants.  The reaction here, to say the least, is a bit different.
City Councilwoman Regina Romero wants the city of Tucson to demand that President Obama kick the immigration floodgates open even wider than they already are.  She’s asking the council to pass a resolution or “memorial” demanding that the president suspend the deportations of non-criminal immigrants.  “The humanitarian crisis happening in Nogales, the people being dropped off at the bus station, and families being torn apart every day by our broken immigration policy, is a local issue,” the Arizona Daily Star quoted her as saying. 

As I’ve said before, I’ve struggled to make up my mind on immigration.  But I have to say I’m having a hard time following Romero’s logic. The feds are dropping off untold thousands of immigrants at bus stations with free passes into the interior precisely because, in these cases at least, deportations have stopped.  How in the world would it be possible to reduce them further?  The border stands open and we’re waving everyone on in.  How, precisely, does this amount to “tearing apart families?” 

What’s going on is not a failure of immigration law or of immigration reform.  It’s a failure of immigration enforcement.  A president who’s stated his intention to rule by executive fiat, and is doing so, primarily is to blame.  But he’s not backing down, recently announcing his intention to make even more changes to immigration enforcement on his own authority if Congress doesn’t act.  If the council adopts Romero’s resolution on Tuesday, it would add our city’s voice to the chorus of immigration activists demanding that he do just that. 

Consider for a moment what these activists want this president to do.  They’re asking him to declare that the democratic process as set forth in our country’s constitution has failed, and to take these powers onto himself.  Upon taking office, the president swears an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States”—not to work around it.  I don’t know about you, but this strikes me as an attack on the very foundations of our American way of life.

The reason that our founders awarded Congress the right to create laws, instead of handing that power to the chief executive, ought to be clear to anyone who’s ever taken a civics class, but let me spell it out anyway:  Regimes change.  But the laws remain.  If one head of government gets to write the rules, then the next one who comes along will get to write them, too, adding, changing, and deleting as he or she sees fit.  There would be no continuity of law or policy under those conditions.  Chaos and confusion would rule.

Of course, this assumes that there will be a change of regime at some point.  Presumably we’ll still be allowed to hold elections under the immigration activists’ new way of doing things.  I mean, surely we’re only planning to scrap part of the democratic process.  Not all of it.  Right?

If you’re inclined to trust this administration to use its self-awarded powers wisely, consider this:  It’s keeping you in the dark about what’s going on.  Reporter Jon Du Pre of San Diego TV station KUSI put it this way:  “Their bosses in Washington have been mute on answering questions from KUSI News and other media outlets on exactly what’s happening.”  Isn’t the public’s right to know supposed to be one of the bedrocks of our democratic way of life?  Oops.  There goes another one.

Here’s something the journalists in California probably would like to ask about, in addition to the question already on the table about how many immigrants are getting bus tickets and whether they’re following instructions to check in with authorities on arrival.  KUSI, citing unnamed sources within the Border Patrol, reported that some of the illegal immigrant mothers with babies are asking for help changing diapers.  They don’t know how to do that?  Really?  This raises questions about whether the women lied about their parental status.  And if they did, then to whom do those children belong?

One might be tempted to ask aloud whether some migrants might be gaming the system, except that you’d then have to ask:  what system?

PowerTalk 1210 host Jim Parisi, whose show followed mine this morning, said something that really resounded with me.  He said he was an immigration moderate, but that the craziness now underway is pushing him toward a stance of “enough is enough.”

I’m starting to feel the same way.  Let’s add up the box score:

--A president who helped create this mess through past executive orders is now threatening to wrest even more control away from Congress, arrogantly taunting opponents with the words, “So sue me.”

--We have citizens strongly encouraging him to grab those powers, supporting his efforts to zero Congress out of the democratic process that our country has observed since its founding.

--We’ve thrown our borders open so wide that it’s hard to see how we haven’t surrendered our national sovereignty.

--The government is doing all this under a cloak of secrecy, withholding facts that you have every right to know.

We got mad at Richard Nixon for authorizing a fourth-rate burglary.  How are these current events not the most frightening developments for our country ever? 


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©2014 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

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