Friday, May 6, 2011

Dueling Immigration Laws

Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) is going before the House with a bill which would eliminate federal handouts to cities which refuse to enforce immigration law. Sanctuary cities are awash with illegal immigrants and illegal immigrant crime. I've mentioned this before in posts about Sanctuary City Numero Uno--San Francisco.

It has gotten so bad that the liberals are at war with the radicals over enforcing cooperation with the feds over this issue. The radical left San Francisco Board of Supervisors re-wrote city ordinances so that only illegals convicted of violent felonies would be reported to the federal authorities. The previous rule had been that illegal immigrants, including minors, were reported to the feds upon arrest for any felony or misdemeanor. Liberal former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, unable to get enough votes to override a veto, simply ordered the police department to continue to report the miscreants to the feds and ignore the Board. It's an ongoing battle between the mayor's office and the Supes.

Barletta's proposed legislation (dubbed the "Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act," or "MASCA") would clamp down on the cities that gladly take federal funds but refuse to follow federal rules regarding reporting illegal immigrants. Barletta's move came in the wake of the Republican takeover of the House, the failure of the DREAM Act, and the inability of the Democrats and Republicans to agree on some sort of "comprehensive immigration reform" (aka "amnesty").

Barletta first came to the attention of political junkies when, as mayor of Hazelton, Pennsylvania he cracked down on illegal immigrants. Now he has announced that he is forming the Congress Immigration Reform Caucus, dedicated to striking a major blow to the ease with which illegal immigrants can hide out. He has already recruited several new Republican young turks to join him. Says Barletta: "My intention is to face illegal immigration head on." By cutting off the source of major illegal immigration enabling--federal funds.

Meanwhile, back here in La La Land, California legislators are using loopholes in the federal "must report" program which automatically checks the immigration status of arrestees. In a state which accounts for more than one-third of illegal immigrant deportations, the Democrats fear the loss of one of their major political constituencies and its major source for future (and present) Democratic voters. So they have to find a way to keep their people from being deported in even larger numbers. You see, of the 102,000 illegals deported since the program began in 2008, twenty-nine percent have been arrested for, but not convicted of criminal activity. That doesn't please the radicals-in-residence in city halls located in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Under the program, local police are expected to report illegal immigrant arrestees to the FBI, and the current program added ICE and Homeland Security to the list of agencies to be notified, along with a copy of the arrestee's fingerprints as additional identification. But the enabling Congressional legislation did not directly address "sanctuary cities," leaving them free to make their own decisions about whom to report without the real and immediate threat of having their federal benefactor cut them off. ICE's goal of having nationwide cooperation by 2013 spurred the pro-illegal immigrant California crowd into action.

The proposed California legislation would simply allow cities to opt into or out of the national program. Illinois has pending legislation that would allow this, and Washington State already has such a law in place. This is more insidious than you might think because what it actually accomplishes is the elimination of the highly dubious pariah status of "sanctuary city" (which has no legal standing) by creating a legislated sanctuary city without the need for skirting the law and use of an appellation that has no meaning in American law.

This is a very clever ploy. By giving cities the legal right to opt into or out of the reporting program, the offending states create huge buffer zones where illegals can hide out with semi-legal confidence. Current sanctuary cities will opt out because they want to continue encouraging illegal immigration (and a future Democratic base). But many smaller towns may also opt out solely because they could cut expenditures and manpower in a state where most municipalities are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

This is not the classic states rights versus federal preemption argument. The California legislators get what they want, while at the same time not interfering with federal prerogatives. If a city ops out, it would theoretically lose its federal assistance. But that hasn't happened, ever, under the current system which coddles the amorphous "sanctuary cities." They have been hiding in plain sight, and would now have the imprimatur of the state government.

Currently, federal law does not mandate the termination of federal funds going to cities which harbor illegal immigrants. California would simply be taking advantage of that fact by legitimizing sanctuary cities. Without the mandate to cut off federal funds, Democrats and timid Republicans have simply ignored their ability to starve sanctuary cities. Thinking Congress critters who oppose illegal immigration but fear losing voters should be aware that they will actually gain votes. The voting public wrath in the current sanctuary cities will largely be turned on the local officials who arrogantly flouted the federal law when the "free goodies for everyone" crowd suddenly doesn't have those federal funds to throw around for other, more legitimate efforts. Los mas furiosos illegals would go into tizzy mode, but so far, they haven't been given the vote.

Barletta's MASCA legislation would change the rules of the game, and at the same time defeat California's legitimization of sanctuary cities. Under Barletta's proposed bill, opt-out cities would automatically have their federal funds cut off (all that would remain would be determining how much would be cut off). Whether this bill has any chance of passing, particularly given the Democratic control of the Senate and the White House remains to be seen. Nevertheless, even introducing such a bill would be an heroic move. I wish Barletta all the best.

20 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

Hawk - nice post. I doubt the bill has a chance as long as Democrats control the Senate and White House. Still, it does make a great campaign issue and should be highlighted in the upcoming budget battle don't you think?

LL said...

"Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) is going before the House with a bill which would eliminate federal handouts to cities which refuse to enforce immigration law."

The Federal Government shouldn't be giving hand-outs to cities in the first place. My point being, that illegal immigration is first and foremost a border control issue. Those illegals still in the interior can't be dealt with practically until the government admits that they need to close the border.

T-Rav said...

More proof of why San Francisco sucks. I never thought things would be so bad that I'd be siding with Gavin Newsom as the voice of reason, but...well, I guess there's a first time for everything.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I am thinking along the same lines. I don't think Barletta did this as a cynical political ploy, but it's passage is highly unlikely given the current Senate (and Obama would veto it anyway). But it is a start, and it does create a campaign issue subset. The California Assembly just passed its version of the DREAM Act and the state Senate will probably approve it as well.

My point is that we've slowed the march of amnesty nationwide, and even though the election will be largely about the economy, the Republican candidate can tie the immigration issue to California's reckless economic ways, including goodies for illegals.

LawHawkRFD said...

LL: I agree. The federal government can't "give" anything to the states that it didn't first take away from the states' citizens. This is simply another example of how the feds feed the national liberal agenda at the expense of the states via bribery. Barletta's bill wouldn't solve that problem, but it would help. Closing the borders to all illegal immigration is the ultimate goal, but making it less attractive for them to cross it is one tool in a larger toolbox.

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: And even then, it took five horrendous and gruesome murders committed by illegals who had been "caught and released" by the police to bring Newsom to his senses.

Writer X said...

Go, Barletta! The days of "having your cake and eating it too" must end.

AndrewPrice said...

I'm happy see Republicans starting to use the same tactics against the left as they've been using against us. They've been trying to do things like deny funds for cities that don't implement leftist garbage for decades now, but the Republicans almost never fought back. This is a good sign. Hopefully, after 2012, they will actually be able to get some of these things put into law.

LawHawkRFD said...

WriterX: You are fortunate enough to have a state legislature that isn't working hand-in-glove with the federal "let 'em all in" crowd. Here in California, just when I think they've done everything they can to facilitate illegal immigration, they come up with something new.

The sad part is that Barletta's proposal is nothing more than common sense, which is the death knell in Congress.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I'm with you. I don't understand why it has taken so long for Republicans to learn the "tricks of the trade," but at least they are learning.

Kosh said...

In other news today, California was caught trying to shoplift Lake Mead. Video from area shows California being help by attendants and trying the lake on. After she left, the lake was noticed missing. California was stopped by Nevada Highway patrol while driving erratically on I-15. She was verbally abusive with officers and failed road side sobriety testing. She also refused breathalizer and was taken into custody. During a routine seach, Lake Mead was found. When confronted she stated "uh, they let me borrow it for awhile." A more extensive search also found parts of the Grand Canyon, Lake Tahoe, and Devils Tower. Nevada prosecuter Jed Barns commented that formal charges will be entered later today.

When asked by reporters for a comment, California stated "f--k you! You can f--king all go to hell!" She then broke down in tears and threw her shoes at the reporters. This is not the first time California has been in legal trouble. She has had brushes with the law regarding drug use, driving under the influenze, threatening nearby states with harm, and harrassing them at all hours.

Oregon was asked about her neighbor to the south. "She use to be a good neighbor with a strong work ethic and values that overflowed. Lately, she hosts huge parties and people she doesn't even invite show up and tear up the place. It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't try to destroy our place as well. She burns through cash at a rapid pace and I think she is in trouble. The other day, she asked me if I had an extra $50 billion to give her. When I told her 'no', she kicked my car and called me a 'whore'. California's lawyer had no comment.

rlaWTX said...

Kosh: very well done!!!

see, Lawhawk, hitting bottom then digging deeper!

When did the federal govt become Santa giving away our money for stupid local govts to spend on idiocy??????

LawHawkRFD said...

Kosh: I'm getting the distinct impression that you don't like California. Very funny piece. Thanks, I needed a laugh today. Oh, and by the way, we know where you and your family live and we have ways of dealing with our critics. LOL

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: I'm looking at the bright side. Now we'll have the best-educated illegal immigrants in the nation. We're Number One!

Kosh said...

I went to school in Reno for awhile and loved going to California for a visit, especially San Fransisco. Often would go see the Giants play and scalped tickets into a 49er playoff game. At that time, the only thing I didn't care for about the state was how populated it was. There is a annual national meeting I try to go to and when it is in either San Fransisco or San Diego, it is a no-brainer. Much prefer going there than Chicago or Orlando, two other places meetings are often held. Not to mention, Reagan came from California. The state also seemed to be on the leading edge of ideas, good and bad, that other states often would try to emmulate. I think that is why I am so critical and think California should be looked at carefully on what NOT to do. These idiots have taken a beautiful state with a vibrant economy and are on the verge of destroying it. I live in a state now that seems to be trying to follow in California's footsteps and nobody seems to be saying "hey, wait, maybe we should reconsider since (insert lame brain idea here) not only didn't work but made things worse.

LawHawkRFD said...

Kosh: You'd be surprised at how much of California is still beautiful, open space. The redwood country is still spectacular as are many of the coastlines. The "cow counties" are still broad and lush (they're in northern California, so they aren't subject to the artificial drought. We have rivers, lakes, mountains, deserts, forests and of course, big cities. It's a terrible shame that it's all being ruined by fiscal incompetents and useless-fish lovers.

Kosh said...

I don't mean to pick on you, LawHawk. I admire your courage to stay and fight the good fight. I finally got a chance to read your piece on the delta smelt. It just seems like a Sisyphean task.

I guess my issue with Calfornia is that its problems have been discussed for years. Everybody knows that is has too many regulations, too many taxes, and spends too much money. But the people keep electing the same idiots who caused the problem in the first place. The governor and legislature needs to be Wisconsined to purge out all the democrats and RINOs. Portugal and California both have similar problems and in both the elected officials can't help themselves. Right now they are all more worried about not getting re-elected than the financial health of the state. Not unique to California, just more press and on a larger scale than other states.

StanH said...

Immigration is something that must be dealt with if we are to recover as a country. It’s good to see our guys going on offense, we must hit back, and not become complacent…you can be certain our Marxist devils will not.

LawHawkRFD said...

Kosh: I'm sure my stubborn determination not to leave until California revives mystifies more than one person.

I would love to see a California governor just stick it to the EPA. An executive order with the words: "Turn on the spigots, and to hell with the feds." If the feds don't cut off funding for those in violation of illegal immigrant reporting requirements, why cut them off over the Delta smelt? Considering the attitude of the current House toward the EPA, I doubt there would be any repercussions. When the feds say "surrender," the governor could reply: "Surrender? We have not yet begun to water."

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: The progressive/marxist left in America often seems to have the patience to keep trudging on toward their socialist heaven while conservatives win a few short (sometimes spectacular) battles and declare the war over. The Reagan revolution should have been the end of the march to destruction, but socialists just hang on and conservatives become complacent. They wait like crocodiles with infinite patience until the next meal comes along. I hope against hope that we are finally learning the lesson that we can't sleep or get too close to the water's edge.

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