Jul 27 2007

Current Immigration Laws Cannot Fix Our Problem

Published by at 6:06 am under All General Discussions,Illegal Immigration

The far right litterally lied when they claimed all we had to do was exercise current law and we could fix our immigration problems. They crafted this lie because there was a chance the comprehensive immigration bill would pass the senate, and those here illegally for a long time would only be punished by a fine and back taxes, and held to the promise to stay crime free and register with the new immigration system. They called this less-than-deportation punishment “amnesty”. That is why I call them the Amnesty Hypochondriacs. There never was Reagan-style amnesty on the table – but they lied about that too.

But the current laws will not fix the problem, as is shown in this court case (among many others over twenty years of legal batterings which have neutered our immigration laws):

A U.S. judge on Thursday struck down as unconstitutional a local law designed to crack down on illegal immigration, dealing a blow to similar laws passed by dozens of towns and cities across the country.

U.S. District Judge James Munley said the city of Hazleton, 100 miles north of Philadelphia, was not allowed to implement a law that would fine businesses that hire illegal immigrants and penalize landlords who rent rooms to them.

“Federal law prohibits Hazleton from enforcing any of the provisions of its ordinances,” Munley wrote in a 206-page opinion following a federal trial in which Hazleton’s law was challenged by civil rights groups.

Welcome to reality folks. The far right thought they were being clever when the labeled punishments ‘amnesty’. They thought they were being clever when they said ‘just enforce the laws’. There is a line between ‘clever’ and ‘deception’. The far right crossed well over that line. The best that can be said is they were clever liars. But ‘clever’ doesn’t include instantiating the same busted system for another 5 years or more lengthening and deepening the problems we have. No, ‘clever’ is not a word I would use for that kind of disaster. And the voters will know not to trust the far right when they start getting ‘clever’ again. Reputation is everything in public policy debates. Once a party loses it is nearly impossible to get it back. Ask the Democrats.

33 responses so far

33 Responses to “Current Immigration Laws Cannot Fix Our Problem”

  1. MerlinOS2 says:


    I don’t want to ruffle your feathers , but the argument here presented was not that the current laws could fix this whole thing , but it was more ordered toward not even doing the best we could under a flawed system was in effect a surrender.

    No body was arguing the laws couldn’t be improved to fix the issue.

    But they were saying that the fix that was presented was a coat hanger abortion that would not do the trick.

    A whole different ball game.

    Yes we have had a lot of trimming down of the capabilities of the current laws on the books and that is sad because of the intent that the original laws required.

    You came out first swinging at those who opposed this position for very good reason as basis in fact.

    Review your own history , it could be instructive.

  2. Terrye says:


    I disagree. Time and again I was told that all that was necessary was to enforce the existing laws. We all heard that. There is no doubt about it.

    And the truth is the existing system does not work, any fool can see that. But instead of using that majority the hardliners swore they had to come up with a viable alternative, they just killed any kind of reform and labelled everything other than socalled enforcement as treasonous.

    The very fact that we went through all this and have nothing to show for it in the way of a solution should make it plain that AJ has a point here.

  3. Terrye says:

    And as years pass and it will become more and more obvious.

  4. Anybody seen “Bikerken” and “RO5” recently?

  5. crosspatch says:

    See, Terrye, there really IS no existing law to enforce. It is not *illegal* to be here unless you have already been thrown out once and came back without permission. Otherwise you are deemed to be more of an “improper” alien in that you haven’t followed proper procedure but it isn’t a crime unless you have been deported and returned.

    The Senate legislation would have codified specific penalties and required people to be punished with fines and such. So now we are back to exactly where we started and nothing has been done except to raise a lot of people’s blood pressure and use up a lot of internet bandwidth.

    As long as there are people making literally BILLIONS of dollars off the system the way it is now, it is never going to change. Believe me. A drug cartel is capable of pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into causes and candidates both left and right that are against it. When you get SEVERAL drug cartels and real estate developers and builders, and landscapers involved who have a vested interest in keeping the system the way it is, nothing will ever change.

    Anyone who uses the phrase “shamnesty” is, in my book, a part of the problem, not a part of the solution. They are emotionally driven and aren’t thinking. My opinion of someone would drop immediately if they used such a term as someone who really doesn’t know what they are talking about and is on a particular bandwagon because it “feels right”, not because it IS right. Those people are more of a threat to our country than the aliens are who are here working.

  6. MerlinOS2 says:


    For many years we had benign neglect of our laws not being enforced no matter how bad the laws needed to be fixed.

    That was the point being made.

    Have you noticed that lately there have been headlines of illegal busts of people who violated our laws.

    Amazing how those “broken” laws suddenly have been able to be brought to the fore.

  7. MerlinOS2 says:


    Believe me I do not wish to reinvigorate this thread of conversation, but it is undeniable that our current laws were not enforced to stem the tide of illegal immigration and allowed the numbers to rise to where it is now a problem some only want to throw their hands up in surrender against.

    For almost a generation we have had lawmakers and presidents let the problem at hand slide and we are now reaping the result.

    Sure AJ has his good reasons to shout at the extreme shouting for reform…but that in itself does not make them wrong.

    Their methods may be wrong to fix the problem, but it does not invalidate the problem itself.

  8. MerlinOS2 says:


    I have to respectfully disagree.

    You can let things slide by for a while as long as they are to your advantage and you can make happy with that.

    But eventually someone will call BS.

    When those voices unite enough to the same song there will be change.

    In the interim if we see enforcement where there was almost none suddenly exposing nannies and grannies rather than MS-13 members that jerk at the heart strings don’t cry but question the motivations and the political spin.

    I wish I could formulate the perfect example of why this is all wrong to place into a thread to show just why this is all so wrong.

    Since I can’t that is my short coming, but under that position , many have to realize something is terribly wrong but are looking to the side in a clear admission that they don’t want to take a harsh look at the problem.

    Now we have to decide are the AJ formed hypocondriacs or the don’t ask don’t tell bunch the root of the problem or the solution to be done.

    No matter how you cut it as to which ever laws exist or may be created, there are people out there ignoring the laws we have now and probably in the future for their own reasons.

    As long as that situation exists we can only wish to give out government subsidized dildos rather than fix the problem.

    Is everybody happy now?

  9. WWS says:

    A brief comment before I head out of town for the weekend – and a little bit of personal info first, which AJ may know but none of you other posters do. I just finished the Texas Bar Exam, which means I’ve been forced to stuff my head with a ridiculous amount of law. (lawyers all say that you know more law when you take the bar than at any other point in your career, because after that you dump all the nonessential parts and specialize, and no human being can keep all of this in their head for long) FYI, I felt really good about the exam and got the questions I wanted – for those who are curious, it lasts 3 days I estimate I wrote about 120 pages longhand and spent 6 hours of multiple choice which is like the damndest trivial pursuit game you’ve ever played in your life with someone holding a gun to your head threatening to shoot if you don’t get at least 70% of the questions correct.

    But enough about me – what gripes me is the absolute lack of legal knowledge present in almost all reporting or commentary these days. (it’s a common complaint, most people in the legal community simply ignore public commentary as hopelessly uninformed, an attitude I decry but understand) Anyway, what always bothers me is that stories like this always generate commentary to the effect of “how dare some judge override the will of the community?” or somesuch. Here in the DFW area we have the Farmer’s Branch referendum which is related to the same issue that was adjudicated in the Pa. case.

    Anyway, the gripe is that every ConLaw textbook ever written has an entire chapter dedicated to explaining why laws of this kind are unconstitutional – it is not a closely contested issue. The topic is federal pre-emption, and I won’t bore you all with the details, but the final resolution is that it is absolutely unconstitutional for states and municipalities to attempt to legislate in an area of national concern that the Congress has addressed, unless Congress has specifically allowed local action to proceed. For example, environmental air quality laws are an area controlled by Congreess, except that California (and ONLY California) is allowed to impose restrictions more stringent than Congress has imposed because Congress has specifically authorized California to do so. (In 1978, IIRC)

    So the answer to all of these local attempts to impact immigration is that anything you do is unconstitutional under the pre-emption doctrine unless Congress specifically authorizes your actions. Federal Judges have no choice but to follow those guidelines. On the bar exam I just took, if there had been a question stating “here is a local ordinance that’s been challenged, you’re a federal judge, how should you rule?” I or anyone else should have been automatically flunked unless we said “rule the ordinance unconstitutional.” There is simply no other valid choice under current law.

    People like to think that Federal Judges impose their own views onto their cases; sometimes they do, but most of the time they don’t. If localities want to regulate immigration, Congress needs to pass a bill allowing them to do that. If that happens, they can do whatever they want. But if that does NOT happen, and it has not happened yet, then they can do NOTHING, and no Federal Judge can change that basic fact of constitutional law.

    and every wanker out there claiming that Localities should take actions on immigration is just blowing smoke, or worse.

  10. Terrye says:

    It is not a question of letting things slide. I have never heard a hardliner come out and actually talk in real life terms about what it would take to deal with this issue.

    They do not talk about the money it would take, the people, the resources, they just go on and on about how we would be fine if we just got on the ball and did what we were supposed to. And then of course they blame the government, well we are the government. And this problem is not new, it was not new when Gingrich was in DC, it was not new when Bush was Governor of Texas and to go off the deep end now is just ridiculous.

    Well, it is not legal to round people up and deport them. The law says they get hearings. But I have heard a lot of folks run on about this as if there is nothing to it if the government would just get off its ass and go round em up and haul em off.

    It is not legal to shoot at civilians at the border, but I have heard a lot of people say we should do that.

    It is not legal to throw a guy in jail for hiring illegals, especially if he can make some kind of reasonable claim that he did not know their status. And yet people say we should do that.

    They claim we should enforce the laws, but often as not they do not even know what the laws are.

    Illegal entry is not a felony, it never has been.

    Personally I don’t think a lot of people on the right have given a passing thought to what it would costs to actually track down and deport all these people. They have not begun to deal with the economic and social and political implications of removing 11 million people from the country…or of labelling them criminals and then just ignoring them if they choose not to deport them.

    Instead they start equating migrant workers who have been coming to the United States for decades with violent criminals like MS13. As if they were all the same when obviously they are not.

    So my point Merlin is that the right did nothing to fix this, or to make it better or even to clarify their position. nothing. nada. zip. zilch.

    I think if given the opportunity to keep the status quo and use it as a political issue or resolve said issue through compromise and consensus they would pick the first choice.

    So, it is not just a question of ignoring the laws, it is a question of using the issue for political gain while making resolution less likely, not more likely.

  11. Terrye says:

    And Merlin, those arrests were always taking place, we arrest and deport people every day, we always have. The fact is the right just chose to ignore that while making their claims that Bush was in league with the Mexicans.

    So maybe instead of claiming that Bush was telling the border agents to stand down people should have taken note of the fact that Bush in fact had put more resources on the border and in enforcement than any president in history.

    But 11 million people is a lot of people.

  12. Terrye says:


    When I farmed I discovered that everyone out there knew all about farming, the farm bill, the farm programs, etc. People are like that in general and they are worse in the press.

  13. rlqretired says:

    AJ- Looks like the US Senate has decided to agree with us Amnesty Hypochondriacs and is now going to do what we demanded of them from the very beginning, SECURE THE BORDER FIRST. The vote was 89-1.

    Cornyn Successful in Securing Critical Border Security Funding
    Senate Democrats Reverse Objection and Agree to Cornyn Provision to Enforce Immigration Laws

    Thursday, July 26, 2007
    WASHINGTON—In an overwhelming vote, the U.S. Senate today passed an amendment offered by Senate Republicans to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill which would provide $3 billion in emergency funding for border security. Importantly, the amendment also includes a provision drafted by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn to allow this money to be used for enforcing America’s immigration laws, including electronic employment verification improvements and the increased removal and detention of visa overstays.
    Sen. Cornyn, the top Republican on the Immigration, Border Security and Refugees subcommittee, said, “Addressing the problem of illegal immigration shouldn’t stop at our borders. We need to restore the confidence of the American people that the federal government is committed to enforcing our immigration laws. This funding will not only put more boots on the ground at our borders but it will also provide additional resources for law enforcement to remove dangerous felons who are here illegally. This is an important, bipartisan step forward to strengthening America’s security. I’m pleased my colleagues in both parties agreed to this important amendment.”
    The amendment would provide emergency funding of $3 billion for:
    · Hiring 500 more Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers per year (FY08-12), 1200 more Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents per year, 200 investigators to combat aliens smuggling, 50 Deputy U.S. Marshals;
    · 23,000 Border Patrol agents hired, trained, and reporting for duty;
    · 4 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles & 105 ground-based radar and camera towers;
    · A permanent end to the “catch-and-release” policy with 45,000 detention beds;
    · Operational control over 100% of the U.S.-Mexico land border;
    · To allow DHS to present a photo electronically to an employer so that the employer may confirm the identity of the individual when he presents ID;
    · To require mandatory detention of aliens who overstay their visa by 60 days;
    · To reimburse local governments that choose to cooperate with ICE in enforcing the immigration laws (INA 287g).

  14. The Macker says:

    Best wishes on your exam results.

    WWS & Terrye,
    Same is true on scientific and engineering subjects. The popular media can’t be trusted to report accurately on matters beyond its understanding. But that doesn’t stop it from trying. And as a result, “everybody” has an opinion.

  15. patrick neid says:

    a lousy bill went down to defeat and some folks here are still trying to get it passed. it’s over. get over it. you were on the losing side. given politics it won’t be the last time.

    notice what bill just flew through the senate as mentioned above? the exact bill myself and others told them to pass first. my, my, my, just look at who the sponsors are. 89 to 1 !

    hats off to the others here that supported this approach.

  16. MerlinOS2 says:


    We have this thing here in Florida that all the local people know that if you live near the beach you wash your car a lot to keep the salt air from turning it into a rust bucket.

    New comers moving in pay the price before they learn that.

    It wasn’t that we totally were not enforcing the law, it just wasn’t at enough of a level to counter the inflow.

    Sure better laws and enough resources to do the job will be what it takes to fix the situation.

    But a generation of poor enforcement and denial of the issue and kicking the can down the road has got us where we are. Now it will as you point out take a lot of coin to pay the piper.

    Nobody is claiming GWB told any one to stand down, that is only your assertion.

    To many people take what they see in their life as it is the total history of the world.

    This fight in the last year will in historic perspective be only the first volley in a battle that will decided maybe in 15 or 30 years down the line.

    Do not judge the final outcome by what just happened, the world simply doesn’t work like that.

  17. Aitch748 says:

    Let’s see. In May 2006, the right suddenly explodes about illegal immigration and how Mexicans are slowly “reconquering” the southwestern U.S. A year later, Congress tries to put together a bill to do something about the problem, and the verdict is that letting the “reconquista” continue unabated is preferable to allowing that shambling Lovecraftian horror of a bill to come up for a vote.

    Now illegal aliens are being arrested, and some people are talking as if the political firestorm over the bill is pretty much THE reason why illegal aliens are being arrested — because they weren’t being arrested before this whole screamfest started.

    I can’t bring myself to care what these “shamnesty” clowns do. I can’t take them seriously. I guess if the economy slows down and the migrant workers stop wandering into our country because the work is drying up, they’ll be beating their chests and crowing about how they put things right and humiliated the liberals again.

  18. MerlinOS2 says:


    Congrats to you individually but also a bit of damn we have another one.

    There are two vocations in this country that have very high hurdles to join the club and both are being tainted by bad actors in their small society.

    That is doctors and lawyers.

    In a way both are like accountants in that they create their own lingo and rules of play and adapt them on the fly if others get wise to their gig.

    Without a doubt good ones are necessary to make the world a better place, but the small bad percentage of each can almost balance out by their actions all the good works of the rest.

    It is sort of ironic doctors here support kicking up the standards so high at medical schools and admission requirements to enter the profession but then we have to import foreign doctors at such a rate that half the patients cant even pronounce their doctors name, much less even understand through their broken English what advice they are trying to give them.

    I live in a small town and have been to a lot of major places in medical environments and I can tell you for sure that where I live it is like walking into a third world medical clinic.

    Read the name of all the doctors here on the hospital list and Smith or Jones don’t make the cut, it’s all multi syllable ethnically different mini UN inspired other guys and gals.

    As to lawyers, nobody really wants to get me started on them.

    I owned a company that by virtue of the business had to keep a whole bunch of lawyers on staff to deal with the legal issues of permits and and zoning exceptions and all sorts of other hoops to be jumped thru that were mostly created by lawyers for the benefit of lawyers and had little other reason for existence.

    Most of the rules and regulations I had to deal with could have been stated in 8 or 10 lines of good common sense but ended up being turned into multi volume tomes that were harder to unravel than a Gordian Knot.

    I had thousands of people working for me providing a much needed service, but the first couple of hundred of those whole profit was used to keep a bunch of lawyers other than the in house ones on retainer in case some idiot decided to hire an ambulance chaser with the hopes of hitting the lottery.

    Sure I’m bitter from the result , but I still wish you the best, because I do know from that experience the are a lot of the good guys still out there.

    It’s just a shame they all aren’t.

  19. Dubya says:

    How does a Federal judge striking down local legislation that was recently passed say anything about the illegal immigration reform bill opponents’ calls for law enforcement? Hazeltown enacted those laws because the federal government was not enforcing the very laws that the call for enforcement was addressing. Two different issues. The laws that illegal immigration opponents were clamoring for enforcement were mainly related to the federal ones that address employers hiring illegal aliens. You know, no jobs = less incentive to encroach our borders. Should the federal government earnestly begin to enforce those laws and the effort fails in one way or another, you may begin to have a point. Until then, I don’t see it.

  20. crosspatch says:

    “to deal with the legal issues of permits and and zoning exceptions and all sorts of other hoops to be jumped thru that were mostly created by lawyers for the benefit of lawyers”

    Having lawyers make the laws is sort of like having the paper industry run the forest service. You get laws that benefit lawyers. We need to elect people from science, industry, and academia to public office.