Stephen Steinlight emails: I’ve been making the case for the last two years that immigration will emerge as a leading if not THE leading issue in the presidential race in 2012. Four recent related events guarantee it. The only other issue that will possess equal weight is Obama’s gross mismanagement of the economy.
The first of the four was President Obama’s flagrant display of contempt for the Constitution. In what amounts to the moral equivalent of a coup, he bypassed Congress and in effect made law — a realm reserved to Congress by the Constitution. He also determined immigration policy on his own, a realm again expressly given to Congress by the Constitution. Unable to get what he wanted in our democratic system of governance through our elected representatives, he enacted the DREAM Act by fiat, legalizing an estimated 1.4 million illegal aliens. The abuse of his parole power, a serious violation in-itself, pales in comparison to his assault on the very basis of our form of government. Previously he had shown his contempt for the rule of law by not enforcing immigration law; now he has surpassed himself by making law whose intent is to breed anarchy and chaos. In his dissenting opinion from the SCOTUS majority, Justice Scalia asserted these actions would have the Founding Fathers “rushing for the exits.”
The second was yesterday’s ruling by SCOTUS on Arizona’s SB1070. We we can take some measure of comfort in the fact that the most controversial provision — “show me your papers” — was upheld in theory (though the decision will open the door to endless legal challenges on the basis of “racial profiling”) and another dozen less disputatious parts of the law remain intact, but the decision, taken as a whole, is an act of folly. The Court should not have accepted the outrageous contention that Arizona “pre-empted” federal law. The state sought only to enforce federal law the Obama administration has chosen not to enforce. The danger to the rule of law comes out of Washington, not out of the states seeking to exercise the sovereign power given to them by the Constitution under our federalist system. If you have not read Justice Scalia’s dissent I strongly urge you do. He makes the case with great eloquence. (Forgive me for being house-proud, but I was deeply pleased to see research by my think tank, CIS, cited in the Court’s opinion.)
The third blow came yesterday. To effectively undo the Court’s upholding of “show me your papers,” the President ordered all federal agencies tasked to deal with immigration to cease cooperation with Arizona law enforcement. Thus, the one piece of cold comfort the decision gave us — the power of Arizona police to seek to determine the legal status of people stopped in the course of normal policing — has been rendered moot. It was this ugly, vengeful act that caused Governor Brewer to assert that President Obama has said “Drop dead” to the state of Arizona. What is happening to Arizona is a terrifying cautionary tale to any other state with the temerity to believe in the rule of law.
Finally, it has become a mantra among the liberal punditry that Governor Romney has been “mum” on the Court’s decision. That statement is false, no matter how many times it is reproduced in print. After the decision, Romney made the following statement in Phoenix: ““Each state has the duty — and the right — to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities.” Later, speaking in Scottsdale, Ariz., Romney stated he would have preferred that the court had provided more latitude to states. Romney added that under the decision the “states would have less authority, less latitude to enforce immigration laws.” It is very clear where he stands. Romney remains solidly in support of “attrition through enforcement.” In 2012 there is a clear choice to be made between the candidates on immigration policy.
Every political on-line publication coming out of DC — Roll Call, The Hill, POLITICO, Real Clear Politics, etc. — plus the newspapers “of record” and all the usual liberal and conservative papers and blogs are in agreement about one thing: immigration policy will be the centerpiece of the election; it will be the hottest of Third Rail issues; and the candidates will take strongly opposed positions on immigration policy.
My forecast has proven accurate.
Those of us who believe in the rule of law, understand the President’s first obligation as protecting the lives and livelihood of Americans, ending illegal immigration, protecting American sovereignty, defending the American workplace from cheap illegal labor during the worst period of unemployment since the Great Depression — must recognize how much is unambiguously at stake in this election. CIS does not endorse candidates; we research immigration and advocate policies. However, our policy prescriptions for protecting our way of life have been placed in grave danger by the actions of the sitting president. We are non-partisan, so I will remind you that Obama’s play book on immigration is no different from that of George W. Bush who sought and failed to pass “comprehensive immigration reform” in June of 2007. Both spell disaster for the country we love.
Given these events which have created a crisis in our national life — not solely in terms of a misbegotten immigration policy but far more seriously in their implications for the maintenance of our Constitutional order — it is more important than ever for people to hear the message I bring from CIS about US immigration policy. With the election campaign going into high gear, this is the moment we must seize.