It’s routine to be disappointed with the leadership in Washington, but the Obama administration’s lawsuit challenging the state of Arizona’s new immigration law sets a new standard for wrongheaded government policy.
The Justice Department made the decision Tuesday to file the suit based on several dubious factors. The administration claims the law hampers the ability of the federal government and federal immigration authorities to perform their duties – a claim that puts into perspective the audacity and twisted vision that now prevail within the administration.
The timing of the suit comes on the heels of Sunday’s Mexican elections, which were marred by violence throughout the country. While drug lords gunned down one candidate for governor in an assassination, another was photographed with a drug kingpin in a bit of P.R. usually reserved for the most anarchic of third-world states. Another was arrested for using his influence to protect two drug cartels.
Since the election of Mexican president Felipe Calderon in 2006, over 20,000 deaths have been attributed to the drug war. According to war reporter Michael Yon, this is more than in Thailand, a country in a state of civil war. The Mexican drug war has been bleeding over to the U.S. for years, with an 80-mile stretch of parkland along the border deemed no man’s land.
With such pressing issues to the south, one would think Washington would be in a mode to deal with the problem. Instead, the administration is suing the state of Arizona for enforcing federal laws – laws that the federal government has decided not to enforce on its own accord. This decision has led to a political and social crisis among the border states. Under such circumstances, the government would ordinarily feel compelled to act. That is, if there weren’t electoral needs and identity politics to consider.
By attacking the new immigration law, the administration is flying in the face of a 70-percent approval for the measure, according to most recent polling. The suit comes a week after Labor Secretary Hilda Solis made a taped statement promising fair wages to illegals. This at a time when Americans are struggling through record unemployment and are facing greater tax burdens heading into the next year.
This new suit coincides with the administration's talk of immigration reform – reform that doesn’t seal the border, or deal with the influx of unskilled migrants overloading civil services, or the deplorable criminal element that is passing in, but of blanket amnesty and no enforcement. Without proper security measures, such reform would usher in a new wave of illegal immigration into the Southwest. Democrats hope this results in a wave of Hispanic voters at the polls.
The situation in Mexico, as well as the immigration issue, are examples of the new and unenviable position in which the American electorate finds itself. The average private citizen is no longer a constituent, but treated as an adversary by some legislators. The immigration battle is an example of how the designs of the progressive president and his party are directly opposite to the wishes of the average American voter.
The immigration debate is also an argument about political relevance. Until Scott Brown’s staggering senatorial upset in liberal Massachusetts, conventional wisdom held that he Republican Party had essentially pigeonholed itself geographically. No longer a factor on the coasts, or the Northeast, the Republican Party consisted of middle and rural America in “flyover country,” as the media forewarned. Limiting oneself to such a base was akin to political suicide.
But demographic polarity goes both ways. Sick of high taxes, demonized in the media, film and television, and angry over broken promises with Medicare and Social Security, the middle class of the Midwest and South has left the Democratic party in droves. To survive its political death in “flyover country,” Democrats are poised to allow amnesty for millions of illegals to insure the party’s sustainability.
The people most affected by this and stand the most to lose are blue-collar workers, those in construction and in service areas, who routinely have their wages undercut by businesses hiring illegals. These workers were the former base of the Democratic Party. The Democratic strategy is doubly nefarious given that illegals, who can not yet vote, are promised wages and benefits that can not be delivered -- not by state governments on the verge of bankruptcy in the west, or by a free market that can’t support such a glut of unskilled labor at a livable wage. To decry these types of politics is to be called a racist, whether referring to the immigration debate, or any of the innumerable issues in Washington DC.
This brand of terse discourse isn’t limited to politicians in the U.S. Mexico has threatened to sue Arizona as well, and drew its own racial implications. While the U.S. has provided an influx of jobs and trade to Mexico through NAFTA, as well as money provided by illegals who send cash back to relatives, Mexican politicians continue to lecture Americans about their own border and immigration policies, despite Mexico’s southern border being nearly militarized. What’s worse, politicians in both parties have acquiesced to this madness through the years. George W. Bush supported amnesty, then attempted through the court to have 50 illegals removed from death row in Texas at the request of former Mexican president Vicente Fox.
The Obama administration’s hand in border security has been unserious at best. The President has pledged just over a 1,000 National Guard troops for border security, without any enforcement powers. It is short of the 6,000 delivered by Bush, a number that dwarfed the actual need. Securing the border should be first priority, followed by streamlining legal immigration measures and cleaning up the war-like conditions on the border.
If politicians on either side want to get serious about the Mexican diaspora, they should begin taking the host country to task. Mexico is one of the richest oil countries, yet the government takes over 70-percent of the industry’s profits. Corruption in government exists on all levels. The United States can offer help, but it should demand that Mexico clean up its mess, and do something to support and employ the lower classes it wishes to push off onto its northern neighbor. In the meantime, the Obama administration’s decision to pick a fight with the one state serious about solving its illegal immigration problem is a step in precisely the wrong direction.