Showing posts with label immigration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label immigration. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Court Invalidates Most of Arizona Immigrant-Check Law


In  spite of my usual criticism of both Congress and the President, I tend to be deferential to the Supreme Court.  Maybe it’s because it’s in this body that I place my last vestige of hope that our Republic will not entirely transform into the Evil Empire; maybe, on less desperate days, it’s because I understand that fine the points of law on which many decisions turn are not really the broad stroked reported by the mass media.  

 Nonetheless, I was initially feeling dejected when I heard that Arizona’s immigration law (“SB 1070”) was upheld.  The harassment of all racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities could not proceed with legal blessings.  The media have shown Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer gloating and declaring that enforcement will begin.

But wait.

I then heard that the vote was a unanimous 8-0 vote (with Justice Kagan not participating.)  

Unanimous?!  Even the liberal Justices?  Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who once infuriated conservatives by saying,

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life..."

How could this “wise Latina woman” support a law that places every latino under legal suspicion by their mere existence in Arizona?!

And so, I set aside the media accounts of the ruling and looked closer at what the Court actually said.

The  Court considered four separate sections of SB 1070. 

SB 1070 §3 made it a crime for failure to apply for, or carry, “alien-registration papers.” 

A majority, 6-2,  struck this section down as unconstitutional. It crossed the philosophical divide: conservatives Alito & Roberts, centrist Kennedy, and liberals Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor all voted to void this section.  No one will have to apply for ‘papers’ and carry them.

SB 1070 §5: made it a crime for illegal immigrants to seek work, apply for work, or perform work. 

A 5-3 majority (Breyer, Ginsburg, Kennedy, Roberts, and Sotomayor) struck down this section as well, because it conflicts with the Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which makes it illegal for employers to hire or employ unauthorized workers. If Congress wanted to create crimes against employees as well, it would have done so, said the Justices.

SB 1070 §6: permitted police to make a warrantless arrest of a person if there was probable cause to believe the individual committed a public offense making them deportable.  

The same 5-3 majority (Breyer, Ginsburg, Kennedy, Roberts, and Sotomayor) struck down this section as well.

That leaves only one section of the bill that was challenged and upheld:

SB1070 §2B: Requires an officer to make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there’s reasonable suspicion that person is in the country illegally. This portion also requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of people arrested and hold them indefinitely until the status is determined.

This section was approved 8-0. 

Keep the following in perspective:

The Court is not saying they agree with or like the law; they are simply issuing a determination as to its constitutionality.

Second, the law only permits the inquiry “…if there’s reasonable suspicion that person is in the country illegally.”

Not if they’re brown.  Not if they speak Spanish.  There must be a reasonable suspicion that they are here illegally.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, was very clear in warning Arizona by writing that this section, too,  could face future constitutional problems if it results in law-enforcement officers detaining an individual longer than they would have without SB 1070 requirements.

All in all, the Justices threw out the most onerous provisions of the law; the one provision they allowed to stand, they allowed to stand with a stern warning that how Arizona chooses to carry out this provision will determine its fate.

I’m breathing a little easier.

.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Republicans Lose Critical Elections All Night

On ballot issues ranging from statewide elections to union bargaining rights and voter access, Republicans took a beating in all corners of the nation tonight.

Perhaps the most closely watched ballot initiative was in Ohio, where voters rejected “Issue #2,” a Republican-supported initiative that would have severely restricted the rights of unions to pursue collective bargaining agreements. The vote was not even close, as voters in this swing-state rejected Republican Governor John Kasich’s bill by more than a 2:1 margin.

At the same time, voters in Maine have decisively rejected conservatives efforts to eliminate same-day registration for voting by a margin of 60% - 40%.

And in Kentucky, a state that saw a Republican Senate win in a special election just last year, voters elected to give four out of five statewide offices to Democrats. And in New York's Suffolk County (Long Island), where Republicans made the County Executive race a "referendum" on President Obama, the Republican candidate was losing by a surprisingly large margin of 55%-45% with roughly 40% of all precinct reporting. Further south in Virginia, that state elected its first openly gay State Senator, Adam Ebbin.

[Update from the West: Russell Pearce, the Arizona state senator from the Republican-dominated suburbs of Phoenix who wrote Arizona's controversial immigration law lost, was recalled last night 55%-45%. The election was widely seen as a referendum on tough measures against illegal immigrants.]

Nationally, Republicans have waged multi-state campaigns to restrict collective bargaining rights, oppose gay rights, impede voters from accessing the polls, and fomenting anti-immigrant sentiment. In my home state of New Hampshire, the Republican-dominated legislature supported all such measures.

When one considers that off-year elections tend to result in losses for the President’s party….and considering that the lower turnouts associated with these off-year elections almost always benefit Republicans...and considering the continuing economic malaise – these results should send a very clear message to the GOP:

Americans may not be thrilled with how Obama has handled his Presidency so far - in fact, they may be downright unhappy, frustrated, and/or disappointed - but by even greater numbers they completely reject the agenda of the current extremist Republicans.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Independence Day 2010




The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

- Emma Lazarus

Monday, January 07, 2008

How Ron Paul blew it in New Hampshire

I will vote for Ron Paul on Primary day here in New Hampshire. I have been a Ron Paul fan for a very long time. But he and his supporters have snatched defeat out of what could have been a stunning showing, and its a shame.

The Republican Party has lost its principles and its soul. The GOP used to be the party of low taxes, fiscal responsibility, states rights, and a small-is-better philosophy when it came to the federal government. The Bush Empire has turned all that on its head, running up fantastic deficits, enacting Steel Tariffs, imposing No Child Left Behind on the states, and strengthening the power of the federal government to unprecedented levels through the Patriot Act and related provisions. Surely, somewhere, some Republican must be willing to stand up and declare that the Good Guys have actually morphed into the Evil Empire. For his entire career, Ron Paul has stood squarely in the true liberty-loving tradition of the Republican Party. And for that reason, I will cast my vote for Ron Paul in the Primary.

He has raised mind-blowing amounts of cash on the internet, drawing on the passion of the younger generation that tends to live on the net. But his numbers are not catching on much past the 10% mark in polls, even here in libertarian New Hampshire. Why is that?

Its not because of a media blackout. It's not because of a conspiracy against him.

It's because with all the issues he could have chosen to seize on, he chose the wrong ones: Immigration and The Federal Reserve System.

Someone needs to inform the political operatives that no one here in New Hampshire cares much about immigration. It's a virtual non-issue. New Hampshire is about as far from Mexico as you can get and still be on American soil. The immigrants who do arrive are by and large French-Canadian, and have been part of the New Hampshire social fabric for several hundred years. Further, all of the Republican candidiates are tripping over themselves trying to be the most mean-spirited, anti-immigration candidate...and no one here cares. Worse, Ron Paul is unable to differentiate himself from the pack on this issue. And even more troublesome, is that his position represents a retreat from the libertarian notion of greater freedom and less government.

Worse still is the near obsession that Dr.Paul and his followers have surrounding the Gold Standard and the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Paul has called for the abolition of the federal Reserve and a return to the gold standard. The more I hear him talk about this issue, the more convinced I become that he truly does not understand what he is talking about:

Dr. Paul has staked out this position because of the deblitating effect that inflation has on household savings. And he is correct: inflation destroys savings and value. What he doesnt seem to understand is that the United States has not seen high inflation in generations, and that is due largely to the effectiveness of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Every industrialized nation in the world has a "Central Bank." Most third world countries do NOT. Nations with these central banks experience low inflation (rarely double digits). In fact, the US inflation rate has been a mere 2% to 5% over the last few decades. (The seventies were an exception). Meanwhile, third-world nations without a central bank regularly experience inflation of 30%, 80%, 100%, or more.

The Role of the Federal Reserve System is to control inflation. They have done it, admirably. Authority for the System lies in the Constitution's clause giving the Federal Government the right to coin money.

The falling value of the US Dollar (which Dr. Paul has lamented) has been GOOD for New Hampshire: it means that the Chinese, and the Europeans, and next-door Canadians can now afford to purchase US goods, helping the manufacturing, retail, and tourism sectors upon which the New Hampshire economy is based. Ron Paul's lament about the falling value of the US Dollar carries little weight here: Retailers saw more Canadians crossing the border to buy US goods than ever before, *because* of the falling US Dollar.

And no one gives a crap about the Federal Reserve except college-aged idealists. Yup, that's right. Here in New Hampshire, people are concerned with fuel oil prices, health insurance, social security and pensions, jobs, and taxes.

Ron Paul could speak powerfully to Granite Staters about issues that are important to them. Instead, he has been sidetracked by non-issues.

And as a result, pragmatic New Hampshire voters will select John McCain (who is *not* seeking to be THE anti-immigration candidate), and who's frank talk about REAL issues resonates well with this state.