WASHINGTON D.C.—Here are recent events concerning the new Arizona law on illegal immigrants in that state. First, the state passes a law that exactly tracks federal law on who is, or is not, an illegal immigrant. Then, President Obama and several other officials of the federal government condemn the law without bothering to read it.
The most common claim against the law is that it authorizes any law enforcement personnel to go up to any person anywhere in Arizona and “demand their papers.” Anyone who bothers to read the law knows this statement is a lie. In an interesting development, it turns out that California law has the same provision that Arizona has just established ”“ once any policemen has made a legitimate stop for any reason, questions can be asked about citizenship.
There are apparently only two major differences between Arizona and California. California has no intention of enforcing its own laws, and California politicians have a much higher tolerance for hypocrisy and dishonesty than those in Arizona.
Then Mexico’s President Calderon visits the United States, speaks to a Joint Session of Congress and condemns the Arizona law as “discriminatory.” Slightly more than half of the Congressmen present, stand and cheer this statement. Apparently they have not read the Arizona law or the Mexican immigration laws which makes the state and federal laws in the United States look like a walk in the park.
But the cherry on the top of this concoction of ignorance was the announcement, less than a week ago, that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement would “not necessarily” accept for processing. This announcement came from John Morton, who is in charge of that agency.
Let’s stop and review for a moment. If any major official in the federal government made such a major policy announcement without clearing it with the White House, he would be fired before he could get back to his office and pack up his family photos and house plants.
Morton has to be speaking for the White House. And that should make everyone nervous.
Under existing federal law, it is the business of ICE to pick up any apparent illegal alien who is arrested by any state, hold them securely and deport them promptly if legally required. Just recently an illegal alien drug dealer in New York got a court-ordered “civil rights” payday of about $124,000 because ICE was a month late in picking him up, as required by federal law.
What does Morton’s statement that ICE may deliberately violate federal law ”“ not state law, but federal law ”“ remind you of? Think of the scraggily-faced kid with the squeaky voice who says if he doesn’t get his way, he’ll take his bat and ball and go home. That’s a self-defeating and arrogant attitude that is common among adolescent males, and appears occasionally among adolescent females.
But, when we grow up, we are supposed to know better how to act around others. When I was a child, I thought as a child…. Casual, ill-considered words from a president can cause dips or disasters in markets, riots or revolutions in international relationships.
Every American President since Teddy Roosevelt at the turn of the last century has had that kind of power behind his words. The reason was not that our presidents were more persuasive than any other nation’s presidents. It was that the unique military, economic, social and legal influence of the United States was more than that of any other nation on the planet. That’s the reason behind Teddy Roosevelt’s famous statement that diplomacy required this: “Talk softly and carry a big stick.”
This underscores the danger of having a president speak childishly and selfishly on any subject, including illegal immigration. We cannot afford childishness in the White House. And, on the subject of the legitimacy and value of the Arizona law against illegal immigrations, that is all that the White House, the Attorney General, the head of ICE and the Secretary of Homeland Security have to offer.
We need better. We deserve more. And we need it fast.