King or President: the Reign of Barack H. Obama

Three kids are playing in a backyard. They’ve decided that they’re going to act out a story, and each person is assigned a specific role and function. As they go along, two of the kids realize that the third isn’t carrying out his assigned role, and because of that they’re having trouble making theirs work. So, they decide to help him in his role. The kid-in-question gets upset, and runs to his mother. He complains that the other two have taken away his part, and wants his mother to do something about it. She surveys the situation, and ultimately decides to split the role between the kid-in-question, and the other two. Upon hearing her decision, the kid picks up his toys in a huff, and stomps up to his room in the conclusion that it’s just his way or the highway.

Just replace the two kids with the state of Arizona, and the temper-tantrum-throwing child with President Obama, and you’d have a fairly accurate portrayal of the shenanigans that took place after yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona Immigration law.

In brief summary, the courts ruled that the heart of the Arizona immigration law, the “ultra-controversial” section 2.B was in fact constitutional. The section states “FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON’S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).” In other words, when a there’s a good reason to suspect the person is here illegally, local law enforcement can put a call into the Feds to check their status. Yeah, that reads just like a Gestapo memo. Gees. THAT, my friends, was the crux of the controversy that spurred such gems as “This law that just passed in Arizona, which I think is a poorly conceived law, you can imagine if you are a Hispanic-American in Arizona, your great-grandparents may have been there before Arizona was even a state, but now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re gonna be harassed. That’s something that could potentially happen. That’s not the right way to go.”

That was the President of the United States at a town hall meeting in 2010. Ah yes, Mr. President- because as the law’s language clearly indicates, ALL HISPANICS are to be targeted simply because they LOOK Hispanic. Good grief. I suppose that like other members of your party (a la Nancy Pelosi), reading bills doesn’t fit into your golfing schedule.

I’d like to zero in on something the president said in that statement from 2010. “If you don’t have your papers. . . “ First of all, is this the East Bloc? Who has “papers”?? All non-citizen residents carry a small plastic credit-card like green card, not papers, and in the instructional letter that comes with the card when it is mailed to a person, it explicity states that the card must be on the owner’s person at all times.

Hmm, now call me crazy, but if as a condition of possessing the card you’re required to carry said card, I’d imagine it’s because you are to expect that at some point or another you may be asked for it. This is what always baffled my husband throughout this debate (who incidentally happens to be a Mexican immigrant). He always wondered what the big deal was since everyone who owns a green card is aware of that federally issued statement! And let’s be real here, Mr. President. While it may be politically expedient to ONCE AGAIN bring up the race card, law enforcement in Arizona wasn’t jonesing for way to hunt down everyone who “looks Hispanic” and kick them back over the border. You realize that the language of 2.B states “FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT . . . ” meaning a traffic stop or similar ruitine investigation of a potential breach in lawful conduct, in which it becomes painfully obvious therein to the law enforcement official that something may be amiss regarding the migratory status of the individual. Of course, this argument was never about reality- it was always about politics. For a party that sets up voter registration tables at naturalization ceremonies to shuffle immigrants right into coveted voting bloc, I’d say this is a whole lot more about elections.

Furthermore, the president’s above statement goes beyond just falsely stating that ALL Hispanics will be “checked” as they take the kiddies out for ice cream, but also goes on to state unequivocally that they will be “harassed.” What a lack of respect for the brave men and women that keep us safe each day. Way to go, Mr. President.

Let’s get back on point. So, if the United States has a way to enforce immigration laws through agencies like ICE, why did Arizona make this move in 2010? As Governor Jan Brewer can certainly attest, it wasn’t to gain herself Presidential popularity points. No, in fact it was to deal with the dire, dire straights in which the state of Arizona finds itself as a consequence of an utterly porous border and an exploding criminal situation as a result of the chaos in Mexico. Let me paint you a picture.

While cartel activity has existed in Mexico for years, the current Mexican administration’s approach has been commendably unprecedented. Felipe Calderon’s administration has actively gone after cartel leaders, taking them out one by one. As this happens and cartel leadership is left in flux, territory battles take place resulting in some of the horrifically violent episodes we’ve seen in the last few years. Two of the biggest cartels, Los Zetas and La Familia (or the Sinaloa Federation) along with a handful of wannabe cartel-ettes happen to be fighting for territory in part along our border.

Incidentally, Calderon later came and spoke in front of our Congress and had the nerve to lecture this nation on Arizona’s immigration law. Really? Really? Call me crazy, President Calderon, but when the country YOU run is in chaos and more than 50,000 of YOUR citizens have been killed during YOUR administration. . . it seems a little presumptious to come and lecture another country about the way they’re attempting to deal with the spill-over of YOUR mess. I’m just saying. . .

Moving on- Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County in Arizona further describes the state’s predicament in a piece he contributed to the New York Times:

“As sheriff of Cochise County I am responsible, along with my 86 deputies, for patrolling 83.5 miles of that border, as well as the 6,200 square miles of my county to the north of it — an area more than four times the size of Long Island.

There is no river between Arizona and Mexico to create a natural obstacle to illegal immigration, drug trafficking and human smuggling, and our county is a major corridor for all these. At best, illegal aliens and smugglers trespass, damage ranchers’ land, steal water and food and start fires. At worst, people who have come here hoping for freedom and opportunity are raped or abandoned by smugglers and left to die in the desert.

Nor are the migrants the only victims. Just over a year ago, while officials at the Department of Homeland Security were declaring they had secured “operational control” of most of the southern Arizona border, my friend Robert N. Krentz Jr., a local rancher, was murdered, most likely by drug smugglers.”

I found particularly amusing his response to those who claimed that the law was racially charged:

“. . .I’ve had more than one person ask me, sneeringly, “What do illegal immigrants look like?” In response, I tell them it’s not really what they look like as much as what they do that concerns me. Among other things, they generally run off into the desert when they see our officers approach. Citizens and legal residents don’t normally do that.”

Brilliant.

As Sheriff Dever well knows, how about the 3,500 acre stretch of land that in 2010 the state of Arizona had to close to U.S. citizens because of the extreme uptick in violence there?

Arizona BEGGED the federal government to do something about the problem. In fact, they pleaded with the administration to send troops to the border to control the situation, yet virtually no action was taken. What choice did that leave the governor? Was she to let the situation continue, while more and more of Arizona’s borderland was closed off to citizens to protect their well-being? Was she to continue to let the situation escalate? The law that Arizona came up with never called for some kind of rogue round-up of all suspected illegal aliens. It simply provided local law enforcement with the authority carry out the laws already in place at the federal level. By the way, “illegal” is a key word in this discussion. Like it or not, being here illegally IS breaking the law. Some people don’t like to face up to that fact, but it’s the truth. It’s not racism or prejudice, it’s the law of the land. And furthermore, no one was saying that Arizona was not open to immigrants looking for a better life in the United States; rather, it was meant to help target the violence dragged in by the smugglers and cartel enforcers along the border.

So, Governor Brewer signed S.B. 1070 into law in 2010, and the Obama administration was less than thrilled. I suppose I wouldn’t be either if my failure to act was being paraded for all to see. As a result, the Obama administration in conjunction with the ACLU sued the state of Arizona to stop the implementation of this law.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled on the law. Specifically:

“The high court decision Monday struck down three provisions in Arizona’s law, including one that allowed local police to arrest anybody they suspect committed a deportable offense. The ruling left in place, though, a central plank that required local law enforcement during routine stops to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally — a provision Democrats claim could lead to “racial profiling,” though Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer denies that. “

In reaction to the one main provision left in place:

“By Monday afternoon, the Department of Homeland Security had pulled back on a program known as 287(g), which allows the feds to deputize local officials to make immigration-based arrests. According to a Homeland Security official, the administration has determined those agreements are “not useful” now in states that have Arizona-style laws. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has since rescinded that agreement in Arizona — with the state itself, and with three local law enforcement agencies.

The move means that even if local police step up immigration checks, they’ll have to rely on federal officials to make the arrests.”

The Supreme Court may have granted Arizona the right to check up on immigration statuses of those they have lawfully stopped for other reasons, but without the federal government’s help, this right exists on paper only.
In other words, President Obama “picked up his toys in a huff,” and went home.
And after leaving authorities in Arizona to fend for themselves in these matters, the administration set up a hotline where individuals may call in (or email, as they so feel inclined) and “report” on Arizona officials who have made them somehow feel devoid of their human rights.
So let me get this straight. In the face of all that has happened on border and continues to happen on the border, the federal government’s response to a state’s effort to protect itself is to pull out of the state, and set up a tattle-tale line instead of dealing with the demonic violence and utter chaos to which Arizonians are subject. . . yeah, that makes sense.

Certain matters are constitutionally to be shared by both the several states and the federal government. Clearly, a state cannot draft a separate immigration policy than that of the federal government. They do have a right to protect themselves, however; a right upon which the Obama administration clearly trampled yesterday. In fact, the federal government’s MAIN responsibility is to protect the several states, which it clearly has not been doing. For the millionth time, the original intent of S.B. 1070 wasn’t to draft new policy; rather to act upon previously established policy in an effort to keep the state OUT of a state of complete chaos.

Truly, have we ever witnessed a presidency this king-like? That an American president can simply “decide” to take federal enforcement aid away from a state just because he doesn’t like it? We may have had progressives in office in the past. . . but a presidency this autocratic; this dicatorial? We’ve dealt with the unconstitutional actions here and there during almost every presidency since FDR, but this president has put the executive branch on steroids. It shouldn’t stun me, but it does. To actually look the Supreme Court in the face and say “Nope! I don’t think so.” Pretty historic, if you ask me. Pretty dangerous, too.

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