Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Obama Is Serious About Immigration Law

Obama Is Serious About Immigration Law

Well, at least he's serious about making sure that there aren't enough police enforcing the law. From the October 7, 2009 Wall Street Journal:

The Obama administration is curbing the powers of an Arizona sheriff who has led one of the most contentious fights against illegal immigrants.

Under an agreement involving local enforcement of federal immigration law, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's deputies will no longer have the authority to arrest suspected illegal immigrants in the streets in the course of their duty.

Now, if you think that this is just aimed at Sheriff Arpaio, whose deputies have been accused of "racial profiling," you are thinking wrong:

Homeland Security announced in July that all localities participating in the enforcement program -- more than 60 from Alabama to California -- would have to sign revised enforcement deals by Oct. 15. Unlike others participating in the program, Mr. Arpaio will be restricted to determining the immigration status of inmates booked into Maricopa County jails. Vincent Picard, an ICE spokesman in Phoenix, declined to comment. ICE is a unit of the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Arpaio was an early participant in a federal immigration program that enlists and trains local police to identify suspected criminal aliens in jails and on the streets. The program, known as 287g, is designed to target drug dealers, gang members and human smugglers.

Since February 2007, Mr. Arpaio has arrested about 30,000 illegal immigrants who were booked into jails in his county. The street-enforcement component, the most contentious portion of the program, resulted in the apprehension of far fewer people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.

So what, exactly, did they revise? You might get the impression that the Obama Administration isn't keen on having any help from local law enforcement with respect to enforcing federal law. But guess what? This was the goal from the start:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ordered a comprehensive review of the 287g program shortly after taking office.

A person close to the Obama administration said some DHS officials had been hoping Mr. Arpaio would withdraw from the program altogether when confronted with a watered-down version.

Make no mistake about it. The Bush Administration only with the greatest reluctance was willing to do what the executive branch is supposed to do: enforce federal law. And the Obama Administration seems intent on doing even less.

One off these days, the Republican Party will decide to get on the side of the vast majority of Americans: white and black, Republican and Democrat, and enforce the existing law about illegal immigration. And if they do so, and choose to make an issue of it, they can probably win elections. As if the Republican Party wanted to do that.

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