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Bloggings: Obama has neglected the immigration issue. Willard Romney ("W") might not do the same, but we may wish that he had. By Roger Algase

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My colleague Harry DeMell, who has contributed many outstanding articles to ID and whom I respect and admire for his scholarship and erudition, even when I do not always agree with his conclusions, has posted a comment to one of my recent bloggings in which he criticizes President Obama for neglecting the immigration issue. In this, Mr. DeMell speaks for almost everyone who cares about immigration. He also echoes a widespread feeling that 1) Willard Romney (hereinafter: "W") could not possibly be worse than Obama on immigration and that 2) W might need to do something about reform.


Of course, Obama has not exactly neglected immigration. E-Verify, Secure Communities, 400,000 deportations a year, a blizzard of RFE's and petition denials, and a pandemic of H-1B and I-9 investigations are not signs of neglect. What they are signs of is a cave-in to the bigots who want to purge America of minority immigrants, just as they are trying to purge America's voter rolls of minority US citizen voters in Florida and many other states.


If W is elected president as a result of the billion dollars worth of attack ads which Karl Rove and the Koch brothers are preparing to spend on his campaign, we may see some fast action from his administration on immigration. Here are some of the initiatives we might expect:


1) Massive federal grants of money and manpower to the states in order to help them enforce their Alabama and Arizona type immigrant persecution laws, possibly together with withholding federal funds for unrelated programs to states which do not pass their own versions. What, didn't W say during the 2012 campaign that the federal government should stay out of the states' affairs and not spend money to support them? Ha, ha, so long, suckers! That was only meant to apply when the states were trying to help minorities, not to kick them out


2) Quick enactment (assuming a Republican Congress) of a federal law similar to H.R. 3447 in 2005 making all immigration violations, even the most trivial and technical, felonies, and also making it a felony for US citizens to provide any form of "assistance" (i.e. medical help, legal advice, religious counseling or a car ride) to any non-citizen who has violated any immigration law or regulation, regardless of whether the person furnishing "assistance" knows this or not,


3) Action to nullify the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship to all US born-children, either through statute, or by a lawsuit attempting to overturn the 1898 Supreme Court decision of US v. Wong Kim Ark,


4) An immediate end to "prosecutorial discretion"; and raising the annual deportation target to 1,000,000 men, women and children per year, to be financed through a massive tax increase on everyone earning less than $250,000 per year. (So long, suckers, redux.)


5) A moratorium on all further immigration until all of the estimated 12 million people in the country without authorization are either deported or "self-deport". 


This is the kind of immigration "reform" we could expect to see from a Willard Romney administration, if the money from Karl and the Brothers K is enough to buy the election and put W in the White House in November.


By the way, the Washington Post has reported that Heydi Mejia, the Virginia high school student who was scheduled to be deported with her mother to Guatemala right after Heydi's graduation, has been granted a one-year reprieve by ICE, along with her mother. This ray of humanity is welcome. Would W have done the same? But what about all the other people whose lives are being destroyed and families broken up by Obama's cowardly attempt to gain white supremacist votes?


This is the choice we will have in November - between Barack's backstabbing, betrayal and broken promises on immigration, and Willard's even worse willing welcome to the wild and woolly anti-immigrant agenda. Which will we get? 


 

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  1. Matthew Kolken's Avatar
    "Massive federal grants of money and manpower to the states in order to help them enforce their Alabama and Arizona type immigrant persecution laws"

    Already happening under Obama. He just increased the number of deportation agents by 25%. He has justified this increase by stating that he is targeting "criminal" aliens, when the statistics actually show that far fewer criminal aliens are being deported. Moreover, the Obama administration's definition of "criminal" includes people that have never committed a crime.

    See: http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/281/


    "...making all immigration violations, even the most trivial and technical, felonies"

    Since taking office President Obama has DOUBLED the amount of federal criminal prosecutions for "trivial" immigration related crimes. There has never been a President in the history of the United States that has targeted immigrants for criminal prosecution like the Deporter in Chief.

    See: http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/bulletins/immigration/monthlymar12/fil/

    "nullify the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship to all US"

    As you are aware the President does not have the authority to unilaterally "nullify" any amendment of the Constitution. This statement is hyperbole at best. Moreover, Romney's father wasn't born in the United States. Do you actually believe that the son would take any action that would deligitimize his father's citizenship?

    "An immediate end to "prosecutorial discretion""

    Did it ever begin? There has been about 2,000 cases nationwide that have received a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion and the majority of those involved cases that garnered media attention. The Morton memo was nothing more than a PR stunt to placate the Hispanic electorate, and to distract people away from the fact that the vast majority of people being deported have no criminal convictions, have United States citizen spouses and children, and qualify for a favorable exercise under the established criteria.

    As for increasing the annual number of deportations to 1,000,000 this is literally an impossibility, or President Obama would have already achieved it. The current Obama rate is 400,000 deportations per year. A record. The immigration courts are so backed up with pending Obama deportations that it is common practice for immigration judges to adjourn cases for 1-2 years between hearings. In order to accommodate 1,000,000 deportations per year Romney would need, at the very least, to double the number of immigration judges nationwide, which is currently impossible due to the hiring freeze in place. Even if the freeze is ultimately lifted it would take time to hire and train the judges. This doesn't happen overnight.

    Not to mention the fact that Office of Chief Counsel has been dragged away from their caseload to review hundreds and thousands of pending Obama deportations, which in 99% of the cases they ultimately move forward with deportation. If anything Obama has wasted taxpayer resources to create the illusion that he is pro-immigrant.

    Parenthetically, I would welcome the increase in the number of immigration judges and trial attorneys because due to the caseload that President Obama has forced them to handle, immigration judges and trial attorneys are overworked, and understaffed, which adversely impacts my clients' right to due process.

    "A moratorium on all further immigration."

    The exact opposite will occur if Obama loses this election. I can envision an increase in the number of H-1B visas, as well as a reallocation of employment bases visas.

    There has never been a period in my career where an administration has been more hostile towards business immigration. Obama has put up barriers to obtaining the most mundane employment based visa. It as if he has put a moratorium on immigrants coming to the United States for business purposes.

    Vote Gary Johnson for President in 2012.
  2. Roger Algase's Avatar
    With regard to Matt Kolken's comment, of course I agree that Obama has been the worst president for immigration in living memory. Anyone who has been reading my posts would have to look long and hard to find anything in defense of his immigration policies. To the contrary, on June 13, 2012, I described his immigration policies as "backstabbing, betrayal and broken promises". If that is supportive of the president, then he does not need any enemies.

    Matt is eloquent, thorough and entirely convincing on an issue on which we both already agree, along with anyone else who looks at the facts. So when he points out how terrible Obama is for immigration, he is preaching to the choir, as far as I am concerned.

    But this is not the issue. The issue is whether Romney and the Republicans would be even worse. Of course, we will not know for sure unless Romney wins. But there are at least three reasons to believe that he would be worse. First, his primary campaign statements. It takes a lot to be on the right of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich on any issue. But Romney did this on immigration. He also welcomed the support of Kris Kobach, though, typically for Romney, he is now trying to "reset" that a bit.

    Second, Romney endorses the "attrition" strategy of making life hell for unauthorized immigrants so that they will want to "self-deport". This is right in the preamble to Arizona's S.B. 1070 law. Obama, for all his terrible immigration record, is on the right side on this issue, and has fought that law all the way to the Supreme Court (where I think he is sure to lose). Romney, on the other hand says that Arizona's law is a model for other states.

    Third, on the legislative front, I suggest that everyone re-read H.R. 3447, passed by the Republican House under James Sensenbrenner in 2005. As I read that bill, it would make the entire immigration system a branch of the criminal law. If I recall correctly, each day of unauthorized presence in the US would have been a separate felony. Even Arizona's and Alabama's immigration laws do not go anywhere near this far.

    If Romney becomes president, there is every chance that a Republican Congress might pass and he might sign such a law. Under a Democratic administration, even Obama's, this would be impossible. Matt also misses the point on the 14th Amendment. Of course a president cannot nullify the Constitution. But he can sign a bill passed by Congress into law.

    Suppose a Republican Congress passes a bill denying birthright citizenship to the US-born children of unauthorized immigrants. Some Tea Party Republicans have already said they would push for such a bill. All Romney has to do is sign it into law. Then would come a court challenge to its constitutionality, with Romney's Solicitor General arguing in the Supreme Court that US v Wong Kim Ark (1898) which is the main, if not the only, legal foundation for a broad interpretation of the "subject to the jurisdiction" clause of the 14th Amendment, should be overturned. Birthright citizenship depends on the meaning of this clause, and in turn on the broad construction that the Wong Kim Ark court gave it. In the 19th century, many arguments were made to the effect that this clause should have been given a narrow interpretation, which might, among other things, have excluded the US-born children of unauthorized immigrants from birthright US citizenship. There was a strong dissent in Wong Kim Ark, based, in part, on racial grounds. Do we really want a Supreme Court with Justice Scalia and the other right wing Justices in the majority to revisit this 114 year old precedent? Would it be beyond them to do so? Would Romney have any objections to their doing so and making America into a vastly different country from the one all of us know today? Or would he use the power of his presidency to try to overturn this late 19th century decision and render millions of US-born Hispanic and other non-white children stateless and deportable? Think about it carefully. I, for one, hope that we will never have a chance to find out. This is why, instead of throwing my vote away on a third party candidate, which is tantamount to staying home in November, I will be going to the polls wearing the most powerful nose plug I can find to vote to re-elect America's Deporter and Betrayer-in-Chief, President Barack Obama.
  3. Matthew Kolken's Avatar
    It appears that I am not the only one who is calling for Obama's defeat because he has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States: Roberto Unger, Obama's Former Harvard Law School Professor, Says The President 'Must Be Defeated' http://huff.to/LWKjo6
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