Sunday, August 1, 2010
The Bloomberg solution to illegal immigration
Opponents of the Justice Department's lawsuit challenging the enforcement of Arizona's controversial illegal-immigration law have hit upon a strategy to highlight what they contend is a gaping inconsistency in the Justice Department's policy priorities. Why should federal attorneys be targeting the Arizona law as an alleged obstacle to coherent and centralized enforcement of federal immigration statutes, they argue, while Justice officials also have done nothing to challenge the legal status of so-called sanctuary cities, which effectively block enforcement of the same federal law?
More than 30 cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Denver, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Dallas, have local ordinances on the books that prevent police from asking about a person’s immigration status. The Arizona law would allow officers to question a person’s immigration status and report them to federal authorities if that person is believed to be in the country illegally. The crackdown could prompt illegal immigrants to seek refuge out of Arizona and into those sanctuary cities.
A Justice Department official told the Washington Times there is nothing hypocritical about the government going after Arizona while ignoring sanctuary cities and suggested it won’t step up enforcement. Administration officials say they want to seek and deport criminal immigrants. Indeed, a recent Washington Post report found that deportation of illegal immigrants has spiked significantly under the Obama administration. But federal officials insist they don’t have the capability or resources to remove the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who haven’t had run-ins with the police.
Okay, then how about stopping them from getting in?
From the NY Times:
Federal maritime law requires that foreign-flagged vessels contact customs officials when they arrive at American ports, even if arriving from another American port. Immigration officials are permitted to board foreign-flagged vessels anytime, said Officer John F. Saleh, a spokesman for United States Customs and Border Protection. Coast Guard officials, who joined in the stop, are allowed to board any vessel at any time in American waters.
Maritime laws and their enforcement have tightened since 9/11. In the past several years, for example, the Coast Guard division on Staten Island — which patrols New York Harbor, the western half of Long Island Sound and the southern Hudson River — has stepped up its scrutiny of smaller foreign-flagged vessels, said Charles Rowe, a spokesman for the Coast Guard in New York City.
Mr. Rowe said that under the program, “Operation Small Fry,” Coast Guard officials, along with federal and local law enforcement personnel, have boarded about 750 such boats a year, to enforce customs, immigration and maritime laws.
It is frustrating for those with foreign flags, said the manager of a luxury marina in the Hamptons, who insisted on anonymity to avoid offending any of his clients. But, he added, “They really can’t complain because the reason they’re foreign-flagged is to avoid paying taxes.”
From the Wall Street Journal:
The immigration debate is reviving the explosive idea of denying citizenship to children born on U.S. soil if their parents are in the country illegally.
A U.S. senator and a state lawmaker in Arizona, both central players in the battle over immigration law, separately proposed this week that "birthright" citizenship be denied to the children of illegal immigrants. They said the change would help stem the flood of illegal border crossings.
Immigration-rights activists say citizenship isn't a significant driver of illegal immigration, because a child has to reach age 21 to petition for permanent legal residency for his or her parents.
A federal judge changed Arizona's new immigration law, just before it went into effect.
In Arizona, Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of the immigration law that drew a legal challenge from the Obama administration, said he wanted to deny U.S. citizenship to children born in his state to illegal immigrants.
At issue is the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, enacted in 1868 to ensure that states not deny former slaves the full rights of citizenship. It states: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
Mr. Pearce, like some other proponents of the change, argued that the amendment as written doesn't apply to illegal immigrants. Because illegal immigrants aren't "subject to the jurisdiction" of the U.S., as the amendment requires, they fall outside its protection, these people argue. A group of House lawmakers made a similar argument when they tried to pass legislation changing the birthright principle in 2005.
Given the controversial nature of this proposal, successfully amending the Constitution would be considered a long shot. It requires a vote of two-thirds of the House and of the Senate, and must be ratified by three-fourths of state legislators.
Why would it be a long shot? Sounds like common sense that would save us billions. Oh that's right...tweeding.