Attempts by cities or other governments to sidestep federal policy and make their own provisions for illegal aliens won’t get any attention from the White House, spokesman Tony Snow says.
He said such efforts are not under the president’s “purview.”
Snow was responding today to a question from Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House. He asked about the president’s reaction to local governments making their own decisions regarding immigration policy.
“Reuters reports that New Haven, Conn., will begin issuing to illegal aliens city ID cards to allow them access to city programs and to open bank accounts. My question: What is the president’s reaction to this municipal…”
“Let me lay down a general rule, which is: The president, because of federalism reasons, does not talk about state, local, county, municipality, Cub Scout, Girl Scout, or other resolutions,” Snow said.
The report from New Haven said even though many U.S. cities and states are arresting illegal immigrants in raids, and are toughening laws against them, the Connecticut city was moving the other direction.
The report said starting this week, illegal aliens will be offered identification cards so they can use city services such as libraries. Supporters reported the cards will improve “public safety” and give the illegal aliens protections that already are given to legal residents.
The U.S. Senate failed this month to adopt a comprehensive reform program that had been sought by the White House. It would have granted a path to legal status for illegal aliens.
Now, an official who administers the program for New Haven said the special IDs will allow illegal aliens to do such things as open bank accounts.
“Part of the reason they can’t open bank accounts is because they don’t have forms of identification that were valid,” the official said.
Others, however, are objecting. Members of Southern Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Reform say the ID cards will change the country’s perspective on illegal aliens.
“There are millions of illegal aliens right around us that when these ID cards are available to them, they will rush to them and get some identification that will allow them to go to other cities,” said Ted Pechinski, a leader for the group.
Officials from Americans for Legal Immigration say they are circulating a promotion in more than three dozen states – urging illegal aliens to move to New Haven.
“Maybe New Haven needs to learn, if they want the illegals, then they’ll get the illegals,” ALIPAC President William Gheen said.
The new ID, officials said, actually doesn’t include an identification that the holder is an illegal alien.
Several weeks ago, Kinsolving asked Snow about Portland, Ore., Mayor Tom Potter’s declaration: “I am angered by this morning’s arrest by federal officers of approximately 150 Portland residents who were working at a local produce company.”
Kinsolving asked, how does the president “ever expect to bring under control the illegal immigration problem when a mayor like Potter openly advocated overlooking existing federal immigration law regarding these 150 lawbreakers?”
The exchange then went like this:
SNOW: Was he not talking about an arrest, Lester?
SNOW: Well, then I hardly see that the mayor was in a position to circumvent the law.
As WND also reported, Snow said he wouldn’t either condemn or endorse plans announced in several locations to set up “sanctuary” facilities in aid of illegal aliens who are in violation of federal law.
The question came after several church organizations had launched such programs, and WND asked: “What message does the White House believe it sends to the nation if a church is in actual defiance of federal law?
Snow’s response was no comment.
WND also asked about Sen. Hillary Clinton’s comments about a letter she got from the Defense Department.
She had written to ask about the plans for withdrawing troops from Iraq and was told it would be premature to discuss those issues. The Pentagon said the talk of withdrawal would simply reinforce enemy propaganda that the U.S. will abandon its allies in Iraq.
Kinsolving asked, “Sen. Hillary Clinton said, ‘Sen. Kerry and I were shocked at Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman’s widely reported statement that premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq.’ And my question: Was the president also shocked, or was he grateful to Mr. Edelman?”
“I’ll refer you to his comments,” said Snow.
In response to her request for information about plans for a withdrawal from Iraq, Edelman warned about discussions that would lead people to believe “the United States will abandon its allies.”
Clinton said the warning was “outrageous and dangerous.”
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