If you like what politicians have done to “tax fairness,” you are going to love even more what is coming as immigration fairness. A Colorado blue ribbon commission has it all figured out.
Stacked blue ribbon commissions as a form of political manipulation are not unique to our nation’s capital. We see them at the state level, too, and now amnesty for illegal aliens has become the cause du jour.
Of course, if you launch a blue ribbon commission, your starting point must be the principle that all “immigrants” must be treated equally, whether legal or illegal. The inconvenient fact that under federal law for over 100 years illegal aliens are not “immigrants” is not allowed to enter the picture. All migrants, legal and illegal, are “part of our community.”
Out in Colorado, a self-selected group of elite “opinion leaders” got together last month to tell Coloradans to “fix the immigration problem.” Their plan is called the “Colorado Compact,” which is modeled on the Utah Compact of a year ago, which, you will not be surprised to learn, accomplished nothing.
What exactly is “the problem” begging for a “solution”? Hold onto your hats, folks: they have discovered unfairness in our immigration laws. These arbiters of fairness say our immigration system is especially unfair to immigrants and unfair to employers. If they dig a little deeper, they may also discover that by their standards, our immigration laws are “unfair” to about 1-billion-plus residents of the planet who want to move to the United States. They have to wait in a long line, and that’s clearly not fair.
What we have in this “Colorado Compact for Immigration Fairness” is a collection of platitudes, clichés and empty gestures, all aiming to “change the rhetoric” so that a “solution can be found” to the problem of unfairness.
Yes, most of the platitudes in the compact are harmless enough, unobjectionable at a certain level of generality. Will you sign a petition in favor of fairness? Of course – why not? But behind the honeyed language of the Compact is a noticeable arrogance and a political agenda.
You will pardon me if I am not impressed by the “bipartisan” character of a group organized by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who is the newly selected chairman of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. In fact, this group reminds me an awful lot of Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper’s “TBD” project (which stands for the ever-so-cute “To be Determined”) whereby a self-selective group of “leading citizens” held meetings across the state in 2012 to plot the repeal of our constitutional Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR). Both are blessed with a few Fig Leaf Republicans offering bipartisan cover.
In the view of the Compact’s authors, Coloradans need not be concerned with the details of sticky problems like border security or 5 million visa overstays; we can just waive the magic wand of “fairness” and all those difficult issues disappear. How wonderful.
What’s missing from the Compact’s barrage of sweet platitudes is a respect for the rule of law. In 2006, a special session of the Colorado General Assembly was called to head off a bipartisan ballot initiative on immigration enforcement, a ballot measure modeled on Arizona’s successful Proposition 200. That ballot measure was dropped by its bipartisan sponsors when the legislature passed a package of bills that both Republican Gov. Owens and Democrat leaders called the “toughest in the nation.
Apparently, those tough laws of 2006 do not meet the new 2013 test if “fairness.”
Of course, all public debate on this matter is moot if President Obama can merely grant amnesty and legal work permits to any illegal alien by executive edict while ignoring the elected lawmakers in Congress. He is, after all, if our national news media are to be believed, the final arbiter of “fairness” in all matters, foreign and domestic. In most countries of the world, that is called a dictatorship.
I believe there are reasonable and fair solutions to the problem of massive illegal migration across our borders. But we can find them only through honest debate, not a sugar-coated subterfuge offered by blue ribbon commissions.
We could take border security seriously, as the 9/11 Commission recommended 10 years ago, and then tackle the problem of the 12-to-20 million illegal aliens already here.
We could enact a federal mandatory E-Verify law to simplify workplace enforcement as recommended by a 2009 Denver University special report.
Or we could adopt the same level of fairness and humanitarian concern toward our illegal entrants as the sovereign nation of Mexico shows toward the illegal trespassers across its southern border and as shown in Mexico’s employment laws. That would be fair, wouldn’t it?
A fair and equitable solution to our immigration problems would first be a solution that is fair to all Americans and adequate to the imperatives of our national security. Above all, any new plan must be enforceable, which may be the biggest obstacle of all given the Obama administration’s demonstrated disrespect for the separation of powers and the rule of law.
What we surely don’t need is another blue ribbon committee blowing smoke in our eyes.