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Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government

An Immigration Christmas Story that Should Be Extended at Least through March, 2010

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The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution mandates an inclusive mathematical formula for apportioning "Representatives . . . among the Several states".  It requires a decennial census count of "the whole number of persons in each State" excluding untaxed Native Americans.  As the New York Times reports, a push is on, using Christmas-themed posters in Spanish, to urge Hispanics (citizens, legal residents and the undocumented, especially Evangelical Christians) to cooperate with census-takers and be counted when the tally begins in March, 2010.  The effort is targeted beyond the Hispanic community, with posters offered in English ("This is How Jesus Was Born") and in four other languages

Accompanying the posters are materials -- marking the 100th day (Dec. 22) until the start of the census -- that may be "helpful to those preparing readings and announcements, writing stories for church bulletins, or composing remarks for press conferences and other public events."  The companion papers cite to the following passage from the Gospel of Luke (Ch. 2): 

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world...And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first-born, a son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Constitutional mandate for an all-inclusive census may be undermined, however, by the reluctance of undocumented immigrants (a term now recognized in Supreme Court jurisprudence) to provide information that could lead to their arrest and deportation, as the Times article notes:

[T]he obstacles to an accurate count are significant. Many illegal immigrants are likely to be reluctant to fill out a government form that asks for their names, birthdates and telephone numbers. And the count comes three years into an immigration crackdown that was initiated by President George W. Bush but has continued apace, though less visibly, under President Obama.

So why then did census officials last October say they've declined to ask the Department of Homeland Security "to suspend immigration raids during the census period, reversing a policy from 2000, when an immigration moratorium was observed" (although confirming that DHS and all other government agencies would not receive census-derived identity data)? 

Is President Obama fearful of another Reverend Wright episode, this time with critics focusing on faith more than race?  Or is it that the President is distancing himself from any possible focus on his Aunt Zeituni whose fate now rests with an immigration judge and the decision at bar whether to order her deported?  Perhaps the absence of an immigration raid moratorium is just another path yet untraveled because of holiday distractions over the health care debate. 

Since President Obama is already postponing his Hawaiian vacation until the Senates votes on healthcare legislation later today, perhaps -- before he leaves Washington -- this former constitutional law professor will consider a holiday gift to the nation by following the 14th and ordering a suspension of immigration enforcement until after the census is completed.

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  1. Carl McGinnis's Avatar
    Everyone must be warned before coming to the United States. Even if you have a visa, you are putting yourself at risk of Homeland Security ICE officers. I have a friend that is from Paris France here on an education visa to finish his degree. He has been here since 2005. His visa is valid until March of 2010, His passport is valid until 2014, and his I-20 is current. He is not illegal. In 2008 He fell in love and married a U.S. citizen that just happens to be addicted to Prescription medications, He knew nothing about this. But he was arrested due to her mistakes. He was placed in detention, scheduled for deportation. He has been in detention center in Pompano Beach Florida for 5 months now. All this because of her mistakes. She should be the one in jail not him. Please everyone coming to America. Think twice. This couple has lost all there savings on lawyers, she lost her job, and they are in the process of losing there home. All this was caused because ICE has the wrong person in jail. They make up any story they want and when they are questioned about it you get nowhere. I have written many letters to Janet Napolitano, Senator Bill Nelson, Representative Ginny Brown-Waite and even President Obama. But no one will listen. So please people think twice about coming to America for any reason. Our immigration system is broken ....they all agree, but you put your life at risk when you enter our borders. Even if you follow the rules you may also lose everything as this couple has. No one will listen, no one cares. This man has never even had a traffic violation and is 51 yrs old. He has never worked in America has always been self supporting and took nothing from Americans social services. His American dream has turned into a night mare. Shame on America. I think it is about time someone revised this immigration and ICE practice. What is illegal in this case is the way DHS is treating this guy. John Morton and Janet N. should be ashamed of themselves. This is just wrong. While in there detention center they have abused him, denied him food and proper medical treatment. He is diabetic and they will not give him the proper food or medical attention. I think it is terrible. The phone system is very poor and not working everyday. They plan it that way so they can not contact there lawyers and family. Someone needs to stop ICE, They are totally out of control. I fear He will be next on the long list of persons that have died while in detention. Until you go to one of these detention centers and see with your own eyes, you will not believe what America is doing. I was shocked, on my first visit and after almost 6 months of seeing what happens, how they have to live. I am still in shock. Trust me it is all about money. He is in a private prison owned by a company called GEO based near Miami Fl. They are paid very well by our tax dollars, but the treatment is unbelievable. I just have to close by saying shame on America. I have seen it with my own eyes. I wonder how many congressmen have stock in this company. They are doing quite well. Just watch for yourself they are GEO on the stock market and are doing well in a bad economy. Makes one think a government contract like this is not a bad investment. I think the government is making a mountain out of a mole hill and now wants to sell climbing equipment
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