By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
President Obama slammed a controversial new immigration law in Arizona, calling it "misguided." According to CNN:
"Our failure to act responsible at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe," the president said at a naturalization ceremony for 24 members of the military.
"In fact, I've instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation. But if we continue to fail to act at the federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country."
Not so fast, Mr. President. I’m not saying I support the Arizona legislation, but I have two points to make about his claim that federal legislation is needed and that Arizona’s bill is misguided. First, I covered the 1986 Congressional passage of the Simpson-Mazzoli immigration reform law. It contained amnesty for illegal immigrants who had been in this country for several years before passage. It also punished employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants. Here we are 24 years later, and federal reform proved completely feckless. So Mr. Obama’s claim that the feds can do better is simply not true.
Secondly, it is problematic of him to criticize the citizens and lawmakers of Arizona. He has not lived in their state or near their southern border. Those who do are the victims of a high rate of criminal activity, unending trash and junk dumped in their back yards, and public school systems that cannot absorb or help the limitless supply of non-English speaking children who they are by law required to educate. Nor does Mr. Obama suffer from a lack of emergency rooms in his neighborhood, because hospitals cannot possibly pay for the massive number of poor people they are required to treat.
What is the answer? Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) has a great idea. Put immigration and international trade reform together in one package, or deal with them at the same time.
My take on that is that international trade agreements should also require countries where citizens produce more children than their economies can absorb to resolve their own population problems, with international support, of course. If people can find work at home, they won’t cross borders illegally.