Sunday, July 11, 2010

Obama Sues Arizona over SB1070

President Obama has ordered the Justice Department to formally file suit against Arizona. Their allegation is that the Arizona’s new tough anti-illegal law is “unconstitutional” in that matters relating to immigration fall exclusively to the federal government. In what could be dubbed as “Showdown at the OK Corral” over the issue of illegal immigration, Arizona’s Governor Brewer may want to hang out a “Welcome to Tombstone Mr. President” as his administration bumbles into a lawsuit they really don’t want any part of.

The general rule regarding federal law versus state law is that a state law can not impede or contradict existing federal law. It does not matter if the federal law is haphazardly enforced or not. At present, the federal government does not have a single coherent law regarding illegal immigration, and certainly takes an uneven approach to its enforcement with little in the way of “teeth”. As a result, illegals have little fear at being stopped. An arrest and deportation is of only minor inconvenience, and they’re often right back in this country within a few days. Employers too have little to fear from federal government which rarely investigates and even more rarely prosecutes (lack of personnel and money). Individuals seen “running for the border” are often not stopped under existing federal law, who must be stopped in the act.

Arizona’s new law, however, provides law enforcement officials with the legal authority to stop and arrest anyone thought to be here illegally provided they have justifiable probable cause. To avoid charges of discrimination, Arizona requires all law enforcement personnel to take racial sensitivity classes, with an emphasis on avoiding racial profiling. In short, Arizona lawmakers anticipated the Justice Department’s lawsuit and took every step to ensure its law would be compliant with existing federal law.

Seventeen other states have begun to take steps to enact similar legislation as Arizona’s. Three states, Utah, South Carolina, and Oklahoma have already taken steps to stop illegal immigration ( Oklahoma has, for instance, made it a felony for transport or shelter illegal immigrants, and they’ve blocked efforts by illegal immigrates to obtain driver’s licenses and in-state tuition. 

 A bill will be introduced in 2011 to seize the property of any business that knowingly employs illegal immigrants. A good step, but I wonder if this includes religious groups who act as if they are exempt from local, state, and federal laws when it comes to illegal immigration. They often smuggle, shelter, and find housing and jobs for illegal aliens, and at the same time, instruct them in steps they can take to circumvent existing laws concerning public assistance.

Meanwhile, Obama has ratcheted up the rhetoric about providing illegal immigrates with blanket amnesty. Obama said during a speech, which received little national press coverage, at American University on July 1 that he would seek to provide the estimate 11 million illegals with “pathway for legal status” and went on to claim that our southern border have never been more secure. 

Under his version, illegal immigrants would have to acknowledge that they broke the law; register; pay their taxes and possibly a fine; learn English. Geez, I wonder if that would have worked for Al Capone? (“Ah, sorry about that St. Valentine Day’s thing. I’d like to pay back taxes on my rackets in cash. Anyone want a beer?”). Obama has even hinted that he may bypass Congress and issue an executive order. Wouldn't surprise me one bit. Obama has become quite adapt at doing end runs around Congress. For more, I suggest checking out: FairUs 

Book Review

There’s an old joke that if you remember the sixties, you probably weren’t there. That’s the basic premise behind Bernard von Bothmer’s new book, “Framing the Sixties: The Use and Abuse of a Decade from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush”, at least, if you’re a Republican. The sixties, as the author correctly points out, was really two eras. The first, “the good sixties”, was from the late 1950’s to the Kennedy assassination in 1963. 

In fact, up until Kennedy’s murder, America was still basking in the afterglow of the Eisenhower Years, with a few exceptions such as the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world to the literal brink of nuclear war (Soviet Premier Khrushchev ordered the Russian Navy to stand down due to, in large part according to Khrushchev, Kennedy’s “lack of experience”), Sputnik, the Berlin Wall, and America’s first tentative steps into Vietnam.

Von Bothmer goes to describe “the bad sixties” as 1964 to 1974 as a time of America’s quagmire in Southeast Asia, student protests, the SLA, Black Panthers, the Gray Panthers, the SDA, set-ins, campus takeovers, Chicago Police Riots during the Democratic Conventions, the murders of Dr. King and RFK, the War on Poverty, moon landings, and finally, America’s military defeat in Vietnam and Watergate. In between we had the Civil Rights, Women’s, and Gay movements. We had NOW, rock’n’roll, love-ins, the Summer of Love, Hell’s Angels, the Green Movement, drugs, and sex galore. It was an era of pushing the limits…any limits.

The book, all 232 pages of it, was interesting; though provocative may be the more operative word since von Bothmer contends there is a subtle battle raging between the Left and Right as to who will ultimately “own” the legacy of the 1960’s. According to the author, it was the Right who broke the 1960’s into essentially the “good” and “bad” years, with the obviously the Republican afterglow of Eisenhower representing the best part and the Democratic led latter years as representational of all that was bad about the era (of course, Watergate serves as a explanation point for the Democrats while Vietnam underscores the decade for the Republicans).

It has often been said that the victors write the history. Personally, I don’t believe the history of the sixties has yet to be written. The sixties was as much about conservative blue collar white kids and poor blacks marching off to a unpopular war as it was for the sons of the rich being deferred or the burning of draft cards, bras, and communes. 

The book makes a great effort at trying to make some sense of an incredible era in today’s political light, though it is clear that the author lays much of the blame at misrepresenting the icons of the 1960’s at the feet of the Republicans. There was much that good about the 1960’s, and much that was bad. I don’t think either side is any more right or wrong as the other. It was also a time when people believe we could do better as a society, and they tried. Oh, and by the way, I was there.

Poll Results

Our last poll asked if you thought the federal government should sue Arizona for enforcing existing immigration laws. 37% of you said they should while 63% of you did not. Actually, I think it’s a good idea. Have I lost my mind you wonder? No; at least I don’t think so. The reason is because I see this blunder by the DOJ as something of a “friendly” lawsuit. The lawsuit will show the true intent of Arizona’s law was to protect its citizens. Secondly, that it was designed to be compliant with federal law (such as it is). Third, a decision in favor of Arizona will spur on other states to enact similar legislation. And fourthly and perhaps most importantly, a defeat of the DOJ may, just may mind you, prompt Obama and Congress to do something about illegal immigration instead of sit there on Capitol Hill like a bunch of bobble heads.

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