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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Justice Department Suing South Carolina Over Immigration Law

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The balancing act that is the White House immigration policy just got a little more interesting as the Justice Department has sued South Carolina over its Arizona copycat law. From Politico:



The Justice Department filed suit Monday against South Carolina over a recently-passed state law intended to step up local law enforcement efforts against illegal immigrants.


The law, set to take effect Jan. 1, requires police to check the immigration status of everyone they detain and to detain for a "reasonable" time those suspected of being in the United States illegally. The legislation also makes it a violation of state law for a foreigner to fail to carry his or her immigration papers and for anyone to transport or harbor illegal aliens.



At the same time, the relentless deportation mill grinds on in the South. The numbers are up 500% since 2005 in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Missiissippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Obviously, there is a disconnect between what is happening in enforcement and what we're hearing from legislators in these states. The numbers speak for themselves and I read the situation as one where statistics are meaningless. No matter how much enforcement is happening, the antis will not be satisfied. And that's because this is not about law and order. It's about race. The legislators in these states use law and order as cover because it's no longer socially acceptable to admit to being a racist. So you achieve your racist ends - getting rid of immigrants - claiming you're really only trying to enforce the law but making life miserable for all of the state's Latinos regardless of their immigration status.


The President seems to be waking up to the fact that the "enforcement first" strategy pushed by the GOP which he adopted shortly after taking office is a trap. Secretary Napolitano noted this when she criticized Congress for continuing to move the "goal posts" on enforcement. President Obama seemed to realize this as well when he mocked the GOP for wanting a border moat with alligators (something Herman Cain jokingly confirmed recently).



The prosecutorial discretion memo released this summer supposedly marked the turning point where the White House stepped back from enforcement first and toward pragmatically dealing with the illegally present population and focusing enforcement on genuine criminals. But there is little evidence that much has changed at all since the release of the memo.That's consistent with similar rhetoric about Secure Communities only being used to deport criminals when the data clearly shows that a huge percentage of those picked up and deported under the program are not criminals at all.


And the Administration's history of saying the right things to Hispanics but doing little to make things better has not gone unnoticed in that community. For example, the calls for the resignation of Cecilia Munoz, the former immigrant rights leader who is the highest ranking Hispanic in the White House are growing louder. And Elise Foley at Huffington Post has just reported on another embarrassing fact - that internal DHS documents show state and local law enforcement authorities are not required to detain immigrants for ICE to pick up, despite DHS' public statements that local authorities lack choice in using the program.  That is hugely embarrassing for a White House that is counting on Hispanics to help win states like Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico in 2012.




The President needs to do something dramatic if he plans on turn things around with an increasingly angry Latino community. He's got a lot of options available including using administrative options to grant a temporary legal and work authorized status to a portion of out of status immigrants. The measure would no doubt be condemned by many on the right, but the President has no chance of swaying these people anyway. Forget about winning Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. Ain't gonna happen. If Congress is paralyzed and won't solve the immigration problem, then the President should exercise his executive powers and do it on his own. He promised to help solve the problem when he ran in 2008 and he needs to deliver.


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  1. George Chell's Avatar
    I have always said that the southern states are racist white skin worshipping pagans masquerading as Christians. I am pretty sure that Nikki Haley thinks she is white. They should stop her butt and ask her for immigration papers. Glad that another white southerner agrees with me. I will take it one step forward and say that Kirkorian, Stein, Camarotta, Jessica Vaughan, Steve Malinga and Heather MacDonald are RACIST white skin worshippers. So are the organizations that they represent. How FAIR is classified as a hate group but CIS is not is way beyond me!
  2. Backlogged's Avatar
    Let alone repealing the enforcement only act, his administration saw the introduction of Neufeld Memo, which by far is the most bureaucratic lame excuse document for USCIS inaction, RFE or rejections, combined with unwarranted consulate visa rejections now. This president cares for nothing but speaking about "hoping" to bring "changes".Action defines a person, not words. Else there would be another 4 years of more moping than hoping for all immigrants.
  3. Another Voice's Avatar
    I think Obama will only consider the EO option if his re-election is in jeopardy, but looking at the republican field I think he is pretty set to defeat them, the only question mark is if Latinos stay home can that make Romney or the republican competitive....
  4. Jack's Avatar
    "No matter how much enforcement is happening, the antis will not be satisfied."

    And no matter how little enforcement is happening, the anti-enforcements will not be satisfied. How can an official policy of only enforcing against a few narrow categories of the deportable alien population be too much enforcement? Maybe too much emphasis on dumb enforcement. I agree about the "deportation mill": slow, expensive, and the clincher--you can just come back.


    "It's about race."

    It certainly is for some of these "immigrants' righst activists".


    "The legislators in these states use law and order as cover because it's no longer socially acceptable to admit to being a racist."

    Like you said, short of admission, how do you know? The problem with proving the "it's about race" theory (for either pro or anti-enforcement) is how can you tell when an immigration stance is more motivated by political self-interest due to party demographics? In that sense, of course there's an element of
    race so long as race is a strong predictor of voting. Look at recent votes in California on state laws which undermine federal immigration law--unanimous Democratic support. The logic seems to be the more welcoming to illegal aliens the state, the bluer it turns; the less welcoming to illegal aliens the state, the redder it will stay. Based on where their state currently sits would seemingly affect politicians' stances on immigration.


    "calls for the resignation of Cecilia Munoz, the former immigrant rights leader who is the highest ranking Hispanic in the White House are growing louder."

    Reasonable people understand she must toe the administration's line. Those calling for her resignation are so ethnocentric they can't comprehend that a person of their common ethnicity (even a government official!) isn't out there stridently opposing all immigration enforcement. Why? Because to them all immigration enforcement is inherently anti-Latino. Which begs the question: if it is reasonable and legitimate for a country to limit who resides within its borders, is it unjust to enforce that law just because a high percentage of those in violation of it are of a particular ethnicity? *Their* cover is justice, but what they want is a radical "identity justice". Isn't that an oxymoron and offensive to Lady Justice?

  5. George Chell's Avatar
    The only people really opposed to all immigration are racists who are afraid of the browning of America. Of course, if I had committed the atrocities that whites in the southern states committed and a few of them still continune to commit...

    http://www.wapt.com/r/28799539/detail.html

    I will be afraid too of becoming a minority!

    As far as Jack is concerned he wants to turn this country into another Belarus, and I want it to become like Hong Kong and Singapore, and we will agree to disagree and let the people decide which one they want!
  6. Another Voice's Avatar
    "Maybe too much emphasis on dumb enforcement. I agree about the "deportation mill": slow, expensive, and the clincher--you can just come back."

    You got me confused there Jack Obama is following the GOP road map on enforcement: Boots on the ground, S-Comm. 287 G, the fence, more beds through private prisons, no legal rights for Immigrants all administrative. If it is not working is because perhaps the whole enforcement only agenda is pretty stupid and expensive to begin with but given that this is the only strategy politicians are willing to consider instead of practical Immigration reform well why are we surprised with the results. I've always told you Jack the definition of crazy is doing the same thing and expecting a different result!!!

    "It certainly is for some of these "immigrants' righst activists"." Got a mirror Jack look at what 25 years of Anti policy have done here......

    "Like you said, short of admission, how do you know? The problem with proving the "it's about race" theory (for either pro or anti-enforcement) is how can you tell when an immigration stance is more motivated by political self-interest due to party demographics? In that sense, of course there's an element of
    race so long as race is a strong predictor of voting. Look at recent votes in California on state laws which undermine federal immigration law--unanimous Democratic support. The logic seems to be the more welcoming to illegal aliens the state, the bluer it turns; the less welcoming to illegal aliens the state, the redder it will stay. Based on where their state currently sits would seemingly affect politicians' stances on immigration."

    You forgot something in your analysis Jack, in the south they have always been racist and continue to be now the changed from African Americans to Immigrants because the can hide the racism behind immigration status, but in the end same old arguments, same old stories, same racism. But even as they do that now they are forced to choose between supporting their racist buddies and their politics or supporting their immigrant dependent business....I wonder where are they going to come down on it now, let's ask GA and AL farmers. The stance on Immigration of a politician is only there until they can hold the hypocrisy with their constituency once they lose that there is going to be a lot of flip- flop going on to save face.

    "Reasonable people understand she must toe the administration's line. Those calling for her resignation are so ethnocentric they can't comprehend that a person of their common ethnicity (even a government official!) isn't out there stridently opposing all immigration enforcement. Why? Because to them all immigration enforcement is inherently anti-Latino."

    The anger towards this lady is based on what she used to represent for years and what she is saying now as a government official. The people thought that with her there they would have a seat at the table with the president that would be more sensitive to the cause. It is understandable that she will not bite the hand that feeds her and that she must present the official position of the administration. But that is not who she was and is not what got her there in the first place....therefore the anger and frustration towards her is well deserved and well earned by her actions.

    "Which begs the question: if it is reasonable and legitimate for a country to limit who resides within its borders, is it unjust to enforce that law just because a high percentage of those in violation of it are of a particular ethnicity? "

    It is reasonable Jack however you conveniently leave out the fact that there is an immense amount of hypocrisy and double standard by the people who love to repeat this line. On the one hand they want a secure border, cheap labor and young workers that can contribute to the expansion of the economy. Then you have business inviting the workers and pushing for the government to allow them to have access to this work force by turning a blind eye for years and a government policy that is out dated, is inefficient and does not match the needs of the country in the 21st century. Mix that with a little salt and pepper and you get what we have today...So Jack as always is not as black and white or in such absolute terms and you want to put it. In reality and the facts point to a particular ethnicity that is carrying the burden of these policies yet their population numbers grow and with numbers grow political power and you can't be mad because they want to fight for their people.

    "*Their* cover is justice, but what they want is a radical "identity justice". Isn't that an oxymoron and offensive to Lady Justice?"

    What was lady justice saying when these same arguments were being made for segregation, discrimination in our history......I forgot the blind fold justice is blind!!!!
  7. George Chell's Avatar
    As I have said over and over again, if I had committed the atrocities that the ancestors of the southern and sun belt whites did, I will be afraid of whites becoming minority too and will do everything to derail or slow down the process...in a figurative sense, Jan Brewer and the GOP bigots in the Senate are no different than the death row serial killer, Ted Bundy, who tried again and again to postpone the inevitable...

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/11/03/20111103brewer-gop-blasted-redistrict-panel-ouster.html
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