Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Sticking Point on Immigration Reform

President Obama is talking a lot lately about immigration reform, although it's not clear what sorts of reform he has in mind. Nevertheless, most Democrats and a lot of Republicans favor an amnesty of illegal aliens with an eventual path to citizenship for immigrants who are here unlawfully. I used to favor a form of amnesty that would allow those who are here in violation of the nation's laws to remain here legally but with no path to citizenship, although there would be one for their children who were brought here by their parents.

I outlined my position on this in a column in the local paper which can be found here if anyone should care to read it. The kind of amnesty I supported at the time was contingent, however, on a secured border that would prevent any further uncontrolled influx of immigrants. I no longer support even this modest form of amnesty for the simple reason that President Obama has shown repeatedly that, despite the oath he swore to uphold the laws of the nation, he will not enforce any law he doesn't like, and, since he has also demonstrated an aversion to stricter border security, he cannot be trusted to enforce any provision in any law or reform that requires it.

A lot of people agree with the President that tighter border security is somehow uncompassionate and unworthy of a great nation. The tacit assumption is that we should let anyone in who wants to live here. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I believe the reason why Republicans make this argument is that they want a large pool of cheap labor and the reason Democrats make it is because they want a large pool of likely Democrat voters. Neither of them really seems to care about the impact open borders would have on the character and economic well-being of the country.

Whatever may be the case, I recall that a couple of years ago Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns NBA basketball team, castigated Arizona Governor Jan Brewer because she signed a border security measure that empowered the state to do what Washington was refusing to do which was to close the border between her state and Mexico. I wrote the following on VP at the time:
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is taking a lot of heat for the apparent crime of exercising common sense on a political issue. The issue, of course, is illegal immigration, and Gov. Brewer is insisting, contra the wishes of the Obama administration, that the law against it be enforced.

This defiance of liberal political correctness is too much for most of her ideological opponents to bear, and consequently the left has encircled Brewer, tomahawks aloft, whooping and grunting in the characteristic fashion of primitives about to sacrifice a prisoner of war. One of Gov. Brewer's antagonists is Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver who, in his criticisms of Brewer, has demonstrated that running a basketball team does not require the same intellectual skills as running a state.

In response to Sarver's criticism of the Arizona law Governor Brewer issued this statement:

"What if the owners of the Suns discovered that hordes of people were sneaking into games without paying? What if they had a good idea who the gate-crashers are, but the ushers and security personnel were not allowed to ask these folks to produce their ticket stubs, thus non-paying attendees couldn't be ejected. Furthermore, what if Suns' ownership was expected to provide those who sneaked in with complimentary eats and drink? And what if, on those days when a gate-crasher became ill or injured, the Suns had to provide free medical care and shelter?"

This is, of course, a good analogy to what is happening along our southern border. The same logic may be applied in other cases, too. Why is there a fence around the White House and what would happen to someone who tried to climb it? Why do most people, including most liberals, lock the doors of their homes? What would they do if they came home and found an intruder sitting at their kitchen table availing himself of refrigerator, toilet and television? What if the intruder insisted not only on staying but on bringing his family to enjoy the benefits and screamed in protest if the homeowner objected? How are these situations any different than what's happening on our southern border?

Questions like these, of course, never get answered by those who oppose the Arizona law because even they can see where the answers lead. Instead, people like Sarver try, in effect, to convince us that, even though he would never dream of doing so himself, other owners should allow the less fortunate into their arenas without tickets and that it's just unAmerican and churlish to deny them the opportunity to see a game.

As Governor Brewer's rejoinder suggests, many of the arguments against the Arizona law are either stupid or hypocritical. Or both.

There can be no meaningful immigration reform unless we stop the traffic on our southern border, and we'll never do that as long as President Obama can decide whether or not he will enforce whatever provisions are promulgated by Congress. Thus, as long as Mr. Obama remains in office it's very difficult to trust him to follow the law, and thus it's very difficult to support any effort to resolve the problem of what to do with illegal aliens.