Musings on Immigration

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Ignorance on Both Sides of the Debate

     With deportations at record levels, both sides of the immigration debate are blaming each other. Congress is accusing the president of ignoring the law, while the President and his advisers maintain their hands are tied because of Congress. Both sides are talking at each other when they should be talking to each other. Several quotes in a recent New York Times article are perfect examples of the ignorance that plagues those who should be the most informed on the issue and demonstrate why it is just so hard to get something done.

     This, from one of the more powerful Republican senators running off at the mouth demonstrating how ignorant he is on one of the more important economic issues of our day:
“The administration has carried out a dramatic nullification of federal law. Under the guise of setting ‘priorities’, the administration has determined that almost anyone in the world who can enter the United States is free to illegally live, work and claim benefits here as long as they are not caught committing a felony or other serious crime.” - Senator Jeff Sessions

     What is wrong with this guy? First, nullifying federal law…what! I know he went to law school a few decades back, but I don’t think he is fully familiar with the definition of nullification. There is nothing about setting enforcement priorities that violates the law, much less nullifies it. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act the executive branch has wide discretion in how it enforces the law. If Mr. Sessions doesn't like the way the executive branch is exercising its discretion then maybe he and his colleagues should change the law. Disagreement with a policy decision is one thing, but to label it nullification is a bit of a stretch. Second, when are people going to get it through their heads that undocumented people cannot avail themselves of the benefits of the welfare state? As I have mentioned in previous posts, there are some negative externalities associated with the social welfare system when it comes to the issue of immigration, but the proper forum for those issues is a debate about the social welfare system, not the immigration system. I hope that he doesn't actually believe this nonsense and it’s just political pandering…at least that wouldn't be as embarrassing.

Next one is from a White House domestic policy adviser:
“The president is concerned about the human cost of separating families, but it’s also true that you can’t just flip a switch and make it stop.” - Cecilia Muñoz

     Actually Ms. Munoz, the president could flip a switch and make it stop. He has the discretionary authority to defer enforcement action on cases for humanitarian reasons, whether he has the moral and political courage to actually do it has yet to be seen.  There is nothing humane about the removal of a person from the United States, especially when that person has lived most of their life here or has kids who were born here. If the president really wanted to stop all this madness he could simply tell ICE to stop placing people in removal proceedings that meet certain criteria. It is that simple and the switch can be flipped…all it takes is a bit of character and courage.


     I am still optimistic that we will see some sort of change in the law in the near future, but is it any wonder that we don’t have something yet when the very people who should be the most informed are this ignorant?

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