Friday, April 04, 2008

Feds doing everything possible to make immigration crisis worse

First, pure bureaucractic bungling has caused legal immigration to decline by 17% over the last year, AP reports. Imagine - the one federal policy that might actually reduce illegal immigration, and with all the hoopla, the Department of Homeland Security made things worse.

Meanwhile, DHS continues to push forward with the border wall along the Rio Grande, waiving a requirement in the legislation that the agency complete a report on the wall's environmental impact. That seems particularly important considering that the plan would make us the first nation-state on the planet to ever wall off a river and leave the river on the other side.

Subtopia links to a slightly dated (one month old) but informative 25-minute clip from Rio Grande Valley Newsline that explains the myriad reasons that's a bad idea. It's less news report than an extended editorial against the wall from the perspective of the Chamber of Commerce set in border communities, but it provides a sense of how most locals along the border feel about the idea:

Sen. John Cornyn featured in the Rio Grande Valley Newsline video appears to be backtracking rapidly as he's force-fed an education on the topic by community leaders in the Valley. His belated concerns are a bit like closing the barn door after the horse is gone, since he already voted for legislation approving the wall (though he claims in the clip he thought there was no funding attached ... oops).

If you intentionally wanted to worsen illegal immigration and weaken border security as much as possible, I don't honestly think you could develop a more effective strategy than the one the federal government is pursuing at the moment.


Anonymous said...

The only upside is with the economy tanking, especially home construction, labor demand declines, so fewer jobs mean fewer people come across the border.

Maybe destroying the economy is really the backbone of the Bush administration's immigration policy, and they just forgot to tell us?


This represents an unprecedented abuse of authority on Secretary Chertoff’s part, and clearly demonstrates the need for an immediate repeal of section 102 of the Real ID Act. Obeying the law is not voluntary, it is mandatory, and Secretary Chertoff cannot claim that he is sweeping aside a host of laws on the border in defense of immigration laws. In a nation of laws all laws must be respected, not just those that are convenient.

Equal protection under the law is meant to be a fundamental right shared by every American, but the Real ID Act makes the legal rights of citizens who live near the border conditional on Secretary Chertoff’s whims. Section 102 of the Real ID Act of 2005 states, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive all legal requirements such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.” No one else is granted this extreme power under any circumstance. The president cannot waive our nation’s laws even in times of national crisis, and Secretary Chertoff cannot waive the laws that protect citizens who live away from the border. Only border residents may have their legal protections waived.

The only reason for Secretary Chertoff to waive these laws is because he knows that the border wall will violate them. In setting these 36 federal laws aside Secretary Chertoff sets himself above the law. If congress allows unchecked power to remain in the hands of an unelected administration appointee they are complicit in fundamentally undermining the rule of law. Leaving the Real ID Act on the books and allowing Chertoff’s waivers to stand sets a precedent that should outrage the American people. If our nation’s laws can be set aside to build a border wall today, they may be similarly set aside for whatever crisis politicians discover in the next election cycle.

Anonymous said...

Do you suggest we put the wall on the other side of the river?