A substantial numbers of Hispanics in Alabama are apparently staging a strike, closing businesses, including restaurants, to protest the state’s tough new law that seeks to stem the tide of illegal immigration. The Associated Press has reported that everything from poultry plants to schools are missing what used to be a familiar presence: Hispanic workers.
They’re miffed about HB 56, which federal Judge Sharon Blackburn of Alabama’s northern district largely upheld two weeks ago, leaving the state to enforce what may be the nation’s toughest measure to crack down on border jumpers.
According to the AP, “[a]t least a half-dozen poultry plants shut down or scaled back operations Wednesday and many other businesses closed,” noting that the “work stoppage was aimed at demonstrating the economic contribution of Alabama's Hispanic immigrants.”
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been pressuring the National Park Service to locate sites related to the histories of women and minorities, particularly Latinos, which could be added to the National Register of Historic Places or otherwise preserved as parks or properties.
U.S. Border Patrol chief David Aguilar is under fire from all directions as scandals surrounding his statements and actions continue to grow. And in a report for the Liberty News Network, national correspondent and border-security expert Andy Ramirez took him to task yet again.
Quoting often from a report by 27-year Border Patrol veteran David Stoddard, Ramirez went through the border chief’s record in detail. The conclusion: It is time for Aguilar to step down.
Adding a touch of humor to the criticism, Stoddard even compared Aguilar to “Baghdad Bob,” a former spokesman for the deposed regime of Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein. The propagandist became an infamous object of ridicule as he would brag during press conferences about how Iraq’s armed forces were crushing the American military even as U.S. troops could be seen overrunning the nation on the split news screen.
“He did his job well. He was a mouthpiece for Saddam regardless of the facts. And, he provided material for late night television for months after he disappeared,” noted Stoddard in his piece lambasting Aguilar. “He just appeared periodically in his spiffy uniform and beret and told bald-faced lies with a straight face. That is an ability the morally challenged have mastered.”
We’ve all heard about the tactic of using children as human shields, as practiced by Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and others. The idea is that you place civilians — preferably women and children — at military targets to reduce the chances that your enemy will attack and so that, if he does, he’ll look like a heartless miscreant who targets the least among us. Morally, it’s the least of tactics.
Yet while we Westerners have made the practice illegal under the Geneva Convention, it’s not unknown in the United States — in our political battles. In the 1990s especially, it became common to claim that all and sundry must support a given statist policy “for the children.” As an example, when Republican-backed welfare reform was instituted, Ted Kennedy called it “legislative child abuse.” And when President G.W. Bush threatened to veto an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 2007, Democrats brought children to a press conference on the matter and later had a 12-year-old SCHIP recipient read a heartstring-tugging Democrat radio address about the program.
The latest use of this tactic was by Texas Governor Rick Perry in the Florida Republican debate when he invoked the welfare of the children to justify his granting in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens.
It’s early October and that means it’s time for the Supreme Court to begin hearing oral arguments in cases it will decide this term. One such case was placed on the docket according to an order issued by the court in September. Carlos Martinez Gutierrez was nabbed trying to smuggle three Mexican children into California. The merits of this case will now be considered by the highest court in the land.
On September 27, the court granted certiorari in the case of Attorney General Eric Holder v. Carlos Gutierrez. At the center of the case are several issues of vital importance for children of illegal immigrants.
If Gutierrez wins, some immigrants may find it easier to avoid removal and stay in the United States.
"The case is significant," Gutierrez's appellate attorney, Stephen Kinnaird, said Tuesday, adding that "you can have possible breakups of families" in certain circumstances.
The facts of the case are these. In December 2005, Carlos Gutierrez attempted to smuggle aliens into the United States through the San Ysidro port of entry (a border community in the southernmost part of San Diego). Subsequently, Gutierrez fought deportation and it is his argument in that aspect of the case that concerns the court in the present matter.
Alabama’s tough new immigration law, most of which was upheld by a federal judge last week, is having its intended effect: Illegal aliens are leaving the state, and their children are disappearing from schools. Two news reports show that illegal aliens, who cost Alabama taxpayers some $300 million annually, have read the handwriting on the wall: No more hiding; the free ride is over.
The news comes on the heels of federal Judge Sharon Blackburn’s decision that most of the law does not interfere with federal prerogatives on immigration policy. The law’s most important codicils require police to check the immigration status of those they lawfully stop and reasonably suspect of being illegal aliens, and as well to detain and check the immigration status of those driving without a valid license.
Illegals on the Run
According to the New York Times, “The vanishing began Wednesday night, the most frightened families packing up their cars as soon as they heard the news.They left behind mobile homes, sold fully furnished for a thousand dollars or even less. Or they just closed up and, in a gesture of optimism, left the keys with a neighbor. Dogs were fed one last time; if no home could be found, they were simply unleashed.
A federal judge upheld the most important parts of Alabama’s law that seeks to control the state’s growing problem with illegal aliens.
In her 115-page decision last week, Judge Sharon Blackburn of the Northern District of Alabama upheld six sections of HB 56 and enjoined four. The law is problematic in those four areas, she ruled, but in the main, HB 56 does not interfere with congressional prerogatives vis-à-vis immigration policy. Nor does it interfere, she ruled, with the foreign policy objectives of the United States.
Importantly, the judge upheld a key provision that had gone down in flames in Arizona, where the Obama administration first went to war against states seeking to stem tide of illegals that are draining state budgets. Blackburn ruled that the state of Alabama may require police to inquire about the immigration status of persons they lawfully stop or arrest if reasonable suspicion exists that those persons are in the country illegally.
That provision of HB 56 and Arizona’s law, SB 1070, enraged the radical left and its adherents in the reconquista lobby. As with Arizona, the Obama administration sued Alabama to overturn its law, and it had the National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center on its side. As well, leftist clerics fought against the state.
Texas Governor Rick Perry defended his policy of allowing illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition for Texas state colleges in the Fox News/Google debate September 22.
Perry faced withering criticism from former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who said of the Perry-backed Texas policy of granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants:
It's an argument I just can't follow. I've got be honest with you, I don't see how it is that a state like Texas — to go to the University of Texas, if you're an illegal alien, you get an in-state tuition discount. You know how much that is? That's $22,000 a year. Four years of college, almost $100,000 discount if you are an illegal alien go to the University of Texas. If you are a United States citizen from any one of the other 49 states, you have to pay $100,000 more. That doesn't make sense to me. That kind of magnet draws people into this country to get that education, to get the $100,000 break. It makes no sense.... We have to turn off the magnet of extraordinary government benefits like a $100,000 tax credit — or, excuse me, discount for going to the University of Texas. That shouldn't be allowed. It makes no sense at all.
Italian authorities vowed a few days ago to send home more than a thousand Africans who invaded the isle of Lampedusa after leaving Tunisia and Libya to seek fortune in Europe. The latest pronouncement from Italy, London's Telegraph reported, came after the detained illegal aliens set fire to the facility in which they were housed.
But the latest crisis on Lampedusa is merely one more ugly episode in the avoidable fate that befell the island when the tsunami of refugees landed after the collapse of Tunisia’s government early this year. The island is just 113 miles from Tunisia, and is indeed closer to Africa than to its mother, Italy.
Throughout this year, Italian officials sat paralyzed, wondering what to do about the great African migration while the teeming horde of Tunisians, Libyans, and others swept over Lampedusa like a biblical plague.
Arizona created quite a national furor a year ago by enacting a law to crack down on illegal immigrants, but the ease with which non-English-speaking people can obtain driver’s licenses there has attracted refugees now living in Massachusetts. The Bay State has suspended the driver's licenses of 124 Massachusetts residents who obtained licenses from Arizona, which they then converted into Massachusetts licenses, the Boston Globe reported Monday. State Police are investigating hundreds of other cases in which Massachusetts residents may have gained driving privileges through Arizona's more flexible policy.
Massachusetts offers the written exam required for a driver's license in English and 26 other languages, second only to California. But the state requires the applicant to take the exam unaided, while Arizona allows the services of a translator. Arizona also allows applicants to bypass the written test altogether with certificates from state-approved private driver schools. And while Arizona requires proof that the applicant is in the country legally and requires multiple documents for proof of identity, the state, unlike Massachusetts, does not require proof of in-state residence.