By Alan Nathan © 2007 FrontPageMag.com
How might the problems surrounding non-documented aliens be handled if they were bartered by two hard-nosed horse-traders, one favoring comprehensive immigration reform and the other wanting to enforce existing laws? Imagine the law-enforcement-guy becoming especially daring and saying to his counterpart, “Your team can have the pathways to citizenship and guest worker programs, providing we first get the sealed border.”
I’m afraid immigration-reform-guy would still reject the deal because lost to his crowd would be their most treasured possession – the ongoing, ill-monitored and ill-protected border that feeds the avarice of corporate rightists wanting cheap labor, and socialist leftists wanting votes.
In virtually all polls, Americans comprised of both Republicans and Democrats demand that we tightly protect our boundaries. And they want this whether it’s through fences, walls, barriers and or virtual shields – whatever works. Astonishingly enough, the party leaders purposely turn away from their respective rank-and-file voters in deference to dollar-rich interest groups wielding greater sway despite representing smaller numbers.
In short, the well-moneyed minority, from each side of the aisle, is successfully overpowering the majority from both. Think of it as Republican-on-Republican and Democrat-on-Democrat crime.
However, the problem for them is that protecting the border from invasion is a constitutional requirement of our government as directed by Article 4, Section 4, and can never be overridden by legislative law.
To whatever degree that still non-existing “comprehensive immigration law” proves to be in conflict with Article IV, would be the same extent to which even the Supreme Court would have to rule it as constitutionally non-compliant.
The quest for this reform is disingenuously characterized as having parity with protecting the borders and consequently gives our leaders an excuse to say they can’t do the latter until the former is achieved. This justification for inaction has no standing because it has no relevance. It’s like saying I can’t have steak today, because my brother-in-law had pizza last week.
Our government is not permitted to disobey or procrastinate implementing constitutional mandates simply because of would-be lesser laws that are still in development.
To prove which strategy factually, and functionally, has the most relevance, let us look at what happens when one approach is done in the absence of the other. If you allow for pathways to citizenship without a counterweighing sealed border to offset then more incentivised people wanting to cross illegally, we’ll have a repeat of the 80’s in which those crossings were dramatically increased following the Reagan era Amnesty. If you seal the border first without accompanying it with pathways to citizenship, what happens to those already here? NOTHING! As a matter of fact, because we’ve cauterized the hemorrhaging at the southern border, the existing non-documented aliens become a more manageable population because they’re no longer growing at a rate of 400,000 each year.
How infinitesimal must be the aggregate IQ of the bipartisan Senate and our concurring myopic White House? How can both branches continue assuming our people haven’t yet figured out that the pursuit for comprehensive immigration reform in no way precludes the government from carrying out their constitutional commitments?
I am genuinely bemused and astonished over how these inbreds on Capitol Hill and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have failed to come to terms with this otherwise self-evident fact. It is my sincerest hope that David Horowitz, the always erudite publisher of Front Page Magazine, will permit me to say that these guys are incredibly f—ing thick! (Let me guess; they edited one word in the previous sentence. Had to try.)
Fred Barnes, the popular Fox News pundit of Special Report with Britt Hume, and a repeated guest on my show, is one of the more informed thinkers in Washington. But he, too, has been known to incorrectly prioritize primary facts behind the secondary and tertiary ones, as he did last year in a piece entitled, “How to Lose the House.”
The public expects action from the people who run Washington–that’s Bush and Republicans. But action is not what they will get if the enforcement-only House refuses to compromise. What they will get in that case is an impasse. And that means the crisis endures. (Weekly Standard, May 29, 2006.)
Well, he was ultimately right about the crisis enduring, but he’s categorically wrong about it being attributable to an “impasse.” An “impasse” can only exist when there are no existing laws that would otherwise allow us to move forward – but this is not the case. Our nation’s foundational document facilitates the way forward through Article IV.
Saying there’s an “impasse,” because two sides can’t get together on legislation subordinate to an already existing constitutional article is to mischaracterize an inferior authority as trumping a superior one. Can’t be done – but this artificial argument continues to be propagated despite its already proven academic irrelevancy.
Our leaders’ disconnect from the Framers’ law on this issue seems impenetrable:
“The later you wait the harder it gets,” Dodd said. “You’ve got a window here … and the fear is if you wait much longer, then it won’t happen before 2008 and with a new administration it probably wouldn’t be one of the first items you bring up.” -Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Associated Press in Boston Globe, May 3, 2007.
Article IV, Sec 4 is already written – what’s the delay?
“Our immigration laws prevent thousands of young people from pursuing their dreams and fully contributing to our nation’s future. These young people have lived in this country for most of their lives. It is the only home they know. They are American in every sense except their technical legal status,” said Durbin. -Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), durbin.senate.gov, May 25, 2006.
Since when do parents get to use their children as a tool for whining about consequences of their own making? Yes, sons and daughters should not be blamed for their parents’ lawbreaking. However, the offspring of illegals are no more entitled to citizen-benefits than are the children of bank-robbers entitled to inherit the loot.
Those on the far-Right who continue that enforcement-only, anti-immigrant drumbeat may think its good politics. But their pandering threatens real progress toward effective immigration reform that protects our security and reflects our values as a nation of immigrants. We have tried it their way by simply beefing up the border. We’ve spent more than $20 billion on it over the past decade – and it has not worked. -Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), tedkennedy .com, July 5, 2006.
This is classic masturbated political correctness. The phrase, “anti-immigrant drumbeat” is the re-labeling of a thing into something it is not because Kennedy is incapable of arguing the issue on point – a common debate tactic employed by those who are intellectually weak. A second grader knows the difference between “anti-immigrant” and “anti-illegal immigrant,” and so should he. Apparently, the road to honesty is another one he seems unable to navigate. More specifically, he knows that the $20 billion for “beefing up the border” had little to do with the actual fences and walls he opposes. He’s equally aware of the fact that Israel’s wall at the West Bank has been directly responsible for reducing suicide bombing by 95 percent. If erected barriers can preempt terrorists, it would seem self-apparent that they’d be at least equally effective against comparatively less threatening migrant workers.
The system is failed – the system isn’t working – we’ve got to toughen the borders and we need to do that – and we’ve got to somehow work together to see a work visa program that will allow people too get into a legal system – not an illegal system – I mean, that’s what people really get irritated about – it’s not that people come in the country legally – it’s that they come in illegally. -Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), GOP South Carolina Primary Debates, Fox News Channel, time-code 01:33, May 15, 2007.
This idiot is worse than Kennedy! He’s arguing that our mandates must work around the aliens instead of the reverse. Senator, you get legal by accommodating the law, not by demanding that the law accommodate you.
But there is an overwhelming majority of Americans, including Republicans, who feel that we need to have a comprehensive approach and realize you can’t simply deport 12 million people. -Senator John McCain (R-AZ), The DeMoines Register, March 16, 2007.
McCain couldn’t be more lost on this issue if he hired a scout to oblivion. Firstly, you don’t have to deport a single person in order to seal up the border. Secondly, after you thoroughly secure that border, the non-documented residents become a more manageable number by default because you will have stopped the hemorrhaging from Mexico. It is at that point you would find all of America more open to pathways and guest-workers.
“…I’m optimistic that we can get comprehensive immigration reform, one, that enforces our borders; two, holds employers to account; three, recognizes we’ve got workers here who are doing jobs Americans aren’t doing, and they ought to have a — there ought to be a temporary worker permit to do so; four, to make sure that we treat people who are here already with respect and dignity, without amnesty, without animosity; and, five, to continue the assimilation program so necessary to make sure our country continues to move forward in an optimistic way.” -President George W. Bush, White House.gov, May 16, 2007.
Mr. President, “respect and dignity” is a reciprocal code of conduct and was violated by the illegal newcomers upon arrival. Why should we honor a bargain already broken by them?
Consistent polls reflect that 65-70 percent of American citizens want sealed borders as a pre-cursor to any program allowing illegal immigrants to transition to citizenship. Despite this generic bipartisanship, born out of the common bonds of a shared homeland, too many leaders in the Senate have become more answerable to their financial constituents than they have to their voting constituents – regardless of party affiliation.
It’s time they feel more than heat – they need to get burned!