Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stealth Amnesty?

Obama pandering to ethno-politics at the
recent La Raza conference.

During a hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security, the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano discussed a recent immigration raid on a car repair business in Bellingham Washington.

Napolitano was very critical of the raid and said that she would "get to the bottom" of what happened in Bellingham. Most interestingly, the end result of the raid was that the Homeland Security agents that had arrested the undocumented immigrants now promised them visas that would allow them to work temporarily in the United States."

What did Napolitano have to "get to the bottom of"? The agents were enforcing existing laws.

Even though I am not supportive of immigration raids and even though I believe that an amnesty will have to be part of a comprehensive immigration reform, I find this quite troubling for a myriad of reasons:

1. The rule of law is an essential to the United States, which means that laws must either be enforced or changed. To selectively enforce the law because of political factors (the Obama Administration's attempt to consolidate the Hispanic Vote) is by every definition an erosion of the rule of law. The great irony is the absence of true rule of law in most Latin American nations indirectly is what is driving so many individuals to immigrate to the United States.

2. Obama understands that he would never be able to pass amnesty due to the strong opposition of large segments of the American public. So, it appears as if he is seeking a de-facto amnesty via the systematic non-enforcement of existing laws and quiet use of piecemeal administrative decrees.

3. One problem with a de-facto amnesty is that it sidesteps the legislative process. Any amnesty that occurs outside of open congressional debate and a clear congressional vote, is a violation of the basic democratic principles that once governed the United States.

4. Another even larger problem is that a de-facto amnesty entails dramatic economic and social change without the open, energetic public debate that's essential in a democracy. The end result will be policies that increasingly diverge from the needs and the desires of the American people.

This is one of many examples of the Obama administration's use of the larger crisis as a means to push through costly, radical policies without adequate public scrutiny and debate. Rather than subject each program and spending hike to a debate and a vote, Obama quickly pushed them through by hiding them in his monolithic "stimulus package" and threatening a financial meltdown if legislators did not sign. And now he has capitalized on the public's focus on the economic crisis by pushing through a stealth amnesty, once again avoiding public debate and the legislative process, while pandering to ethno-politics over the welfare of all Americans.


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