Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Amnesty Games

Arizona governor Jan Brewer has signed the legislation which puts teeth into the effort of restricting the flow of illegal immigrants into that state. In response to ever increasing crime and lack of responsible enforcement from the federal government, the legislature took on the job as a sovereign state. With the backing of 70% of the people they had little difficulty passing it.

The US Constitution is very clear on the issue:

Article IV, Section. 6 states:

"The United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on the Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence." (Color highlighting for emphasis.)

The “invasion” and “domestic violence” which has occurred in Arizona and the other Border States adjacent to Mexico has resulted from an influx of illegal aliens numbering from 10 to 20 million. Like it or not, each and every one of those persons who have crossed the border illegally can only be defined as having committed a criminal act. Our federal law is clear on the matter and appropriate penalties are available for those who chose to violate our statutes. There are no exceptions for gender, age, or any other criteria. In response to the demands of the citizens, the state of Arizona has elected to enforce the laws which the federal government has chosen to ignore.

The history of the issue takes us back to 1875 and the prohibition of convicts and prostitutes entering the US. Under Chester A. Arthur, in 1882, nearly all Chinese, paupers, criminals, and mentally ill were also banned thus establishing a criteria of legal and illegal immigrants.

During the 39 years between 1881 and 1920, 23,500,000 from the rest of the world, came to America legally. Thereafter, Congress continued to pass reduced quotas, based on the ethnic mix of the country, and the flow diminished. Even then, the traffic in immigration from Mexico—largely illegal—was swept under the rug. Since that time, the problem has only accelerated along with the need for lower paid workers.

Over history, the only times which have seen a drop in illegal immigration are those of economic distress in our country. This of course, puts the lie to the observation; “they are doing the jobs which Americans won’t do.” For all the criticisms of Americans, we will work when the cupboard is bare. Once Hoover left office, Roosevelt also limited immigration but omitted Mexicans and Canadians and the pattern continued culminating in the “bracero” program in WWII to supply workers in food production. These “undocumented” led the way to tidal wave of illegals which the new Arizona law addresses.

During the administration of Eisenhower, the problem was recognized and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS, now ICE) launched the politically incorrectly named “Operation Wetback” and violators by the tens of thousands were deported. In 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act was passed and led the way to a series of amnesties. Here are seven:

1. Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA), 1986: A blanket amnesty for over 2.7 million illegal aliens

2. Section 245(i) Amnesty, 1994: A temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens

3. Section 245(i) Extension Amnesty, 1997: An extension of the rolling amnesty created in 1994

4. Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Amnesty, 1997: An amnesty for close to one million illegal aliens from Central America

5. Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act Amnesty (HRIFA), 1998: An amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti

6. Late Amnesty, 2000: An amnesty for some illegal aliens who claim they should have been amnestied under the 1986 IRCA amnesty, an estimated 400,000 illegal aliens
7. LIFE Act Amnesty, 2000: A reinstatement of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty, an estimated 900,000 illegal aliens

In short, the federal answer to the flood of illigal immigrants has been to offer amnesty. They have abused the word by using more acceptable euphamisms such as: comprehensive immigration reform, earned legalization, temporary workers, undocumented immigrants, and pathway to citizenship. All of this while refusing to enforce existing law. The “virtual fence” to turn away the univited along our southern border has turned into little more than a farce.

Years ago, when I lived in Cochise County, AZ, there was already a problem and a drive from Sierra Vista on the backroads to Nogales was instructive. There are several spots on that sixty mile drive which have intersections which present unmarked alternatives which take you directly into Mexico and vice versa for opposing traffic. I am informed by old friends that little has changed since. That high plateau has long been a gateway for illicit traffic.

The current weeping and wailing about the recent Arizona actions have brought out the usual arguments about the fairness of enforcement and possible civil rights violations. Few citizens in that area are inconvenienced by showing proper ID to law enforcement to verify their citizenship. That is a minor inconvenience compared to being a victim of theft, vandalism, kidnapping and murder. Please note that the complaints from locals who have been interviewed are rarely mentioned. Beside which, they pale to insignificance when compared to the methods currently employed by TSA and other government agencies.

It is a rarity in the country these days but the legislators and the governor working in concert actually listened to their constituents and took the action which the people were demanding. This is how a republic of the people is supposed to work. To subject them to criticism is to include the founders of the nation as subjects of disdain as well.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Some of the material in this piece may be found here in longer form.

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