10 June 2007

They still don't get it

If one were seeking examples of how our politicians often seem not to operate in the real world that the rest of us inhabit, one could do worse than this essay by Janet Napolitano, the Governor of Arizona, in which she pleads for Congress to take another crack at enacting an amnesty for illegal aliens.

Opponents of the Senate immigration bill -- those who really want to do nothing -- merely yelled "amnesty" in place of reasoned opposition.

Whatever planet she lives on evidently lacks access to the internet on this one. Opponents of the amnesty made many principled and reasoned arguments -- that it would reward lawbreaking, that it would encourage more illegal immigration, that it would depress the wages of unskilled American workers by unfair competition, that it would betray and insult the millions of would-be legal immigrants who followed the law and are waiting for their turn to come, that the government has never properly enforced existing laws and we have no reason to trust it to enforce new ones.

For 20 years our country has done basically nothing to enforce the 1986 legislation against either the employers who hired illegal immigrants or those who crossed our borders illegally to work for them. Accordingly, our current system is, effectively, silent amnesty.

So start enforcing the laws you admit we are not enforcing, thus bringing the "silent amnesty" to an end. Don't convert it into a de jure amnesty. That's what your constituents were telling you.

If we have no comprehensive immigration reform this year, and if we do not deal rigorously and openly with those already here, silent amnesty will continue.

Not if we start enforcing the existing laws.

Napolitano gives examples of what she calls the "arbitrary and unfair" character of current enforcement:

A man in the United States illegally was pulled over in Phoenix and charged with driving under the influence. Immigration officers arrested him, his wife and their 19-year-old son, who were also here illegally. An aunt says that their 12-year-old daughter -- who is an American citizen -- cries every day for the family members who had to leave her behind. This is a fair immigration system?

What's unfair about this? Three people who broke the law were caught and given the prescribed punishment. Many criminals who are sent to prison have 12-year-old daughters who probably cry over them. Should we exempt criminals from punishment if they have minor children?

The Immigration Customs and Enforcement agency has sent several top-ranking students from Arizona State University to a camp in Eloy, Ariz., to await deportation to countries they have never lived in. The students have earned top marks, have never been in serious legal trouble and by all measures are primed to become productive members of our economy. This is a wise immigration policy?

If these students were illegal aliens, they had broken the law by coming here. Should we exempt criminals from punishment if they are good students? I was a very good student in my time. Can I get one of these exemptions so I can break the law without fear of punishment?

If these examples are "unfair", it is hard to imagine that very many illegal aliens could be "fairly" deported -- that is, they are an argument against most enforcement.

It is fundamentally unfair and unrealistic to suggest that our system remain as it is and ignore the 12 million who ran the gantlet at the border and managed to find work in our country.

No one is suggesting that we should do that. We want enforcement of the law, especially employer sanctions, so that jobs for illegals will dry up and those 12 million interlopers will go back to where they belong.

It is not "amnesty" to require these individuals to earn the privilege of citizenship, as have the millions of immigrants who came before them.

If you end up giving illegal aliens a legal right to stay in the US, it's an amnesty. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.

Why is a person who addresses the anti-illegal-immigration majority of the American people with such condescension and misrepresentation the governor of a state?

Build the border fence. Tough employer sanctions. No amnesty.

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