I know what you’re thinking. I’m telling you something you already know: the Left doesn’t like these new laws in Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina (man, I cannot stand Rep. Gutierrez), Alabama, etc., because they’re racist and they break up families, yadda, yadda, yadda. But they do have one argument they like to throw out against these laws that isn’t demagogic or has your standard bleeding-heart irrationality: federalism. It’s actually quite a sound argument and a legitimate question open for debate (shocking, I know). Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution states that Congress has the power “To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Note that it says “uniform.” The argument here is that immigration laws and the enforcement of such laws are the sole authority of Congress, and the States do not and cannot have the power to create their own laws of enforcement. Just as the 10th Amendment asserts the reserved powers of the States, so too does Article I, Section 8 assert the enumerated powers of Congress.
In other words, the Left are perfectly fine with immigration enforcement, so long as it’s done by the Federal Government, not the States (at least in theory). Now, I understand the counter-argument that the States have no choice but to enact and enforce immigration laws due to the Fed’s inaction or incompetence (or both). But that’s a discussion for another day (my fellow colleague Liz has an excellent article on general immigration policy). Let’s pretend for the sake argument that the federalism rationale is legitimate.
Turn now to the Obama Administration. Among the biggest ironies of this Administration is that while they try to appease the pro-Amnesty/DREAM Act crowd with the deportation rules change, the total number of deportations has actually RISEN since 2008. Not only that, a recent AP story told how the Obama Administration has stepped up employer audits of their workers’ immigration status substantially since the Bush Administration. A shocking revelation! Let’s think about this for just one moment: wouldn’t the Left, who stridently rail against these State laws, want to bring this information to the table in a positive light? I mean, these numbers virtually eliminate the retort that Federal inaction necessitates these laws! Not only is the Obama Administration actually enforcing immigration laws, they’re enforcing them better than the evil, hate-mongering Bush Regime! The immigration hawks should be happy about the enforcement numbers, federalism remains intact, and no more butt-hurt about racist State laws because the Left has just shown them to be completely unnecessary. A win-win, right?
Wrong. New stories and opinions from pro-amnesty advocates having been coming out against current Federal enforcement policies, even after FURTHER changes to deportation rules have been made. Using the same tried and true emotionalism they use against State laws, the Left cries out against the rule of law no matter how much leniency and discretion is given to prosecutors and ICE agents. Families are being torn apart whether its the State or the Federal government doing the tearing, so it all needs to be changed.
I suppose the Left will respond that I am making a strawman argument, claiming they have always said “our current immigration system, as a whole, is broken and that’s why we cannot support these oppressive deportations.” Personally, I am in agreement with them to an extent. But let’s again assume they are correct and they somehow get EVERYTHING they want: the DREAM Act and “comprehensive reform” that includes both amnesty for the 12 million illegal immigrants here and an increase in the number of temporary H1 work visas for migrant workers. The problem here is that even with ALL THAT, there will still be lawbreakers. There will still be those who overstay their visas. There will still be those who didn’t get the memo on how much easier it is to get a visa and cross the border illegally. As a result, there will still be the possibility of sob stories of families being torn apart, even after the Left gets everything they want. Will they still criticize any and all enforcement policies of the Federal government? Someone has to be the “bad guy” here.
Not only that, while you see Republican presidential candidates like Gingrich, Perry, and Johnson throw a bone towards the amnesty crowd (or policies that are perceived as pro-amnesty), I have yet to hear a major pro-amnesty Democrat meet an enforcement policy they liked. No E-Verify, no ICE raids on work sites, no collaboration between federal and state officials, no physical border, barely any approval of deportations, nothing. Any sort of enforcement measure (whether its by local, state, or federal law enforcement) is seen as inhumane, cruel, and racist to a fault. “No one is illegal!” as some of their ilk say.
Quite frankly I would like to see the Pro-Amnesty Democrats be honest with themselves. Just be out with it and say you’re in favor of open borders and be done with it. Because it’s clear that no matter who is doing the enforcing, you’re against it.