American Elephants


A Beacon of Liberty For The World by The Elephant's Child

Illegal immigration was down sharply after Donald Trump was inaugurated, with his commitment to building a wall and cutting back on illegal immigration. As the talk of amnesty for the DACA group has grown, immigration has been increasing sharply—up by 22% in August (a 100% increase from April). It has doubled in just 4 months. There are no overall statistics, but those apprehended by ICE and the Border Patrol give a rough estimate for the total flow.

Among those apprehended, there are lots of family groups—parents and children. So we can expect that we have another bunch of “childhood arrivals” Do they get to stay too? If not, “cruel”, and “no fair.”

Most parents have no real guide to parenting beyond how they were raised, what their friends are doing or not doing, and what they read in the news.What most moms learn gradually and often painfully, is that “Well just this once” is a very bad idea. If you have rules, then they have to be rules and obeyed, otherwise they are only a sham.

The fact that some people oppose open borders, oppose DACA, and want a wall is presumed to be clear evidence that they are white supremacists and their opposition to illegals is racist, because some Central and South Americans have brown skins. Has nothing to do with the fact that the average cost of deporting someone was $10,954 in 2016. Or the crimes and drugs brought along with illegal aliens. Or the families who have lost a loved one, murdered by an illegal alien. Nice people have sanctuary cities, to keep criminal illegal aliens from being deported.

I think I may speak for millions of Americans who believe that American citizenship is something special, and should be difficult to reach, because you prize something more if you have to work hard to get it. Our Constitutional freedoms are unique in the world and require constant defense from those who prefer a welfare state that gives you stuff. We seem to have brought forth a generation that has no understanding of the rarity and importance of being able to say out loud what you believe in, and to publicly challenge your government when it has gone astray. It’s very easy for our elected officials to come to think that they are the important ones and forget that they work for us, and can be dismissed.

*This 2014 cartoon by Michael Rameriz captures the idea perfectly

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South of the Border, Down Mexico Way… by The Elephant's Child

Activists portray illegal immigration solely as a human story of the desperately poor from south of the border fleeing misery to start new, productive lives in the U.S. — despite exploitation and America’s nativist immigration laws. (Victor Davis Hanson)

We see the marches and the signs —No Human is Illegal—which is nonsense. Words have meanings, and neither wishful thinking nor activist cash get to redefine them. We are a nation of laws. We have specific immigration laws, which during the Obama administration were set aside and ordered to be unenforced. Mexico has a continuing interest in failing to pay any attention to the reasons why their citizens don’t seem to want to come home, amounting to around $25 billion in remittances sent from citizens who are working in America, and often subsidized by U.S. social benefits.

The Democratic party is also invested in illegal immigration, worried that its current agendas cannot win in the Electoral College without new constituents who appreciate liberal support for open borders and generous social services.

In contrast, classically liberal, meritocratic, and ethnically diverse immigration might result in a disparate, politically unpredictable set of immigrants.

Its a complex, difficult problem. It is probably impossible to remove all illegal aliens. When you get to the “Dreamers” those who were brought to this country when they were little children who have never known any other country, empathy kicks in and we are unlikely to deport them.  Victor Davis Hanson is an important voice, for he has grown up in an agricultural area of California where legal and illegal immigrants are a significant portion of the population.

The Center for Immigration Studies (cis.org) is a think tank dealing with facts and answers on immigration problems. Here is Jessica M.Vaughan’s testimony about “Restoring Enforcement of Our Nation’s Immigration Laws” before  the subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, March 28. It’s an excellent overview of where we are and where we’ve been, where is our strength and our weakness. And what should be Congress’ priorities, what about public safety and illegal hiring.

CIS has also made it clear that there is a cost for illegal immigrants. NAS, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have estimated the average cost to taxpayers of illegal immigrants. NAS estimates that one illegal immigrant costs state and local governments approximately $75,000 in a lifetime—taking into account taxes paid and the cost of providing benefits such as education and health care. If a portion of the population of illegal aliens were stopped, around 9 to 12 percent, the wall would pay for itself.

The number of illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico declined by 40 percent from January to February. Customs and Border Protection normally sees a 10 to 20 percent increase in those months. An Executive Order to enforce immigration laws has made a difference.

Andrew McCarthy, who is a former assistant Federal U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York simply believes that in most cases, illegal aliens who are encountered in the course of ordinary law enforcement operations should be detained and deported. Willpower and resolve that put the burden on straightforward law enforcement rather than the political fortunes of politicians will solve most problems.

It will take some willpower from Congress. President Trump is requesting bids on construction of the wall. Mexico has a wall on their southern border, complete with guard towers. You may find it amusing that the first thing former President Obama did when contemplating the move into their rented mansion in a tony section of the nation’s capitol, was to build a wall around the new house.



The Great Big Wall, Revisited. by The Elephant's Child

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A lot of Americans are concerned about immigration, particularly illegal immigration. Donald Trump has made immigration central to his campaign, with his talk of building “a great big wall” and deporting everybody. He will make Mexico pay for it, and after he has deported all the illegals, he’ll put in a great big door and let the good ones back in. This is bombast, not a solution to anything. But Trump is speaking to public anger, and garnering the needed media attention. The Left attempts to portray concern about illegal immigration as nativism, or lack of concern for the unfortunate, or just plain mean, but that’s just what they always do.

Illegal immigrants welcomed with welfare and food stamps and public housing instead of being deported, doesn’t seem quite right to taxpayers. Sanctuary cities that prevent illegal immigrants from being deported don’t seem right either. When Katy Steinle is murdered senselessly in a sanctuary city, by illegal alien Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, with seven felony convictions, who has been deported 5 times, which means he has entered the country illegally at least 6 times — Americans really don’t like it.

When the numbers of Americans no longer looking for work reach incredible heights, and the Chamber of Commerce is simultaneously demanding more visas for foreign workers, something doesn’t seem right. Then there were the videos of trains from Mexico with children and adults, members of Mara Salvatrucha with their tattoos, crowded on top of the railway cars, admitted and scattered all over the country to wreak havoc with school districts and local welfare services. We were told they were required to report back to Customs and Immigration for hearings, but that never happened either. Some said the Democrats just wanted more Democrat voters.

The American people have been pretty clear about what they want. They want the immigration laws enforced, and Obama’s waivers and executive orders and executive notes and never minds halted. We have laws and open borders isn’t in them. We don’t care for presidents deciding which laws will be enforced and which will not. There is this thing called the oath of office, which we believe it is not only wrong, but immoral to ignore.

Congress has developed some bad habits. They want to solve problems with big comprehensive bills that cover everything and get the problems out of the way. And that is the way they intend to solve immigration. The people want the borders closed, and our current laws fully enforced — then we’ll talk about the next step.

We are regularly told that we must have amnesty for the 11 million illegal aliens among us; that they cannot be deported because there are 11 million of them. The Heritage Foundation exposed the dirty secret in a post at their Daily Signal. We have no idea how many illegals there are in the country. We have no idea how many have overstayed their visas. We have no idea how many are not citizens. We don’t have meaningful exit controls. The 11 million number is a guess, and it’s been the same number for over a decade. Congress just wants to get rid of the problem. A big fix, and if it doesn’t work, another big fix down the road, and so on and so on.

ADDENDUM: I must emphasize that I do not believe that Americans are anti-immigrant. They are anti-illegal immigrant. We are a nation of laws and we expect the laws to be enforced. It is unconscionable that we have millions of people who have gone through the legal process of wanting to immigrate, and have to wait 10 or 20 years, while illegals just pop over the border or overstay their visas.



The President Has Again Tried to Circumvent the Constitutional System of Lawmaking. by The Elephant's Child
May 12, 2015, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

Among the publications of the Hoover Institution is an online magazine called Peregrine, which includes short pieces by Hoover fellows. This one about Obama’s use of his executive power by William Suter is particularly interesting:

President Obama is not the first President to use his executive power aggressively. President Lincoln used an Executive Order in 1861 to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court held that his action was unconstitutional. President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to change the composition of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1937 in order to gain favorable votes for his New Deal legislation. His “Court packing” plan was rejected by Congress and the voters. President Truman seized steel mills in 1952 to avert a strike because the mills were needed to support the Korean War. The Supreme Court held that his takeovers were unconstitutional. Previously, Truman acted courageously by issuing an Executive Order in 1948 that desegregated the armed forces. In that instance, he was on solid legal ground because the Constitution states that the President is the “commander in chief of the Army and Navy.” President Obama attempted to make three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 when the Senate clearly was not in recess. His reason for doing this was that the Senate would not confirm his nominees. He acted as though he was the first President to be treated rudely by the Senate. Not so! His crude attempt was an insult to the Constitution. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, held that his appointments were void.

Congress also uses its power aggressively. An example is the Senate’s late-night manipulation of rules to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) in 2010. That embarrassing episode rivaled the famous 1972 Olympic Gold Medal basketball game when three seconds were mysteriously added to the clock, enabling the Soviet Union to defeat the United States. …

President Obama, emboldened by his record of changing laws – including provisions of the Affordable Care Act – decided in November 2014 to bring about his vision of immigration reform, not through Congress, but by use of executive fiats. For years, he maintained that he had no legal authority to change immigration laws. The sweeping election wins by Republicans a few weeks earlier apparently caused the President to change his mind. The largest category of people affected by the President’s executive “Presidential memos” is an estimated population of five million illegal immigrants who have been in this country for five or more years and have children who are U.S. citizens or permanent legal citizens. If they pass a background check and pay their taxes, the President offers a 3-year temporary status of “deferred action” regarding deportation along with work permits. The President’s purported legal authority to do this is his power of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutors have such authority in individual cases, but no one can seriously think that authority is applicable on such a grand scale. What the President is doing is refusing to execute the law. He has no more authority to do this than he would to exempt corporations from paying income taxes. He cannot change the law.

As one writer put it, “This move by President Obama is not a sign of righteous impatience; it is proof that he has failed at that most basic of tasks – working with Congress.” The President has created a constitutional crisis when there was no need to do so. That is regrettable. (emphasis added)



The House Finds Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress. by The Elephant's Child

In a 255-67 vote, the House placed Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a Congressional subpoena, in the Fast and Furious inquiry.

Seventeen Democrats ignored party lines and voted with Republicans to find the Attorney General in contempt of Congress. 108 Democrats didn’t cast votes to protest the fact that the House GOP was holding the vote.The Department of Justice is not expected to enforce the criminal contempt measure. But less than an hour later, the House passed a separate resolution allowing Issa’s Congressional Oversight Committee  to pursue civil court action against Holder.

The Congressional Black Caucus and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) staged a walkout during the vote as Democrats charged the GOP with staging a witch hunt against Holder that demeans the lower chamber.The Congressional Oversight Committee is concerned with uncovering just who is responsible for an operation that unlawfully sent nearly 2000 guns across the border to Mexican drug cartels where they were responsible for killing Border agent Brian Terry and ICE agent Jaime Zapata and something over 300 murdered Mexican nationals. That is an awful lot of dead bodies, for which the United States is apparently responsible, and the Democrats want to call attempting to find out who authorized it a “witch hunt?’

If the drug wars just across the border weren’t killing so many people, it might well have been called an “international incident.” It is against the law to invoke “executive privilege” to cover up wrongdoing, but the President has invoked executive privilege which is usually used to protect conversations between a president and advisers.



The President is Pandering… Again. by The Elephant's Child

On Friday, President Obama announced “new actions my administration will take to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just — specifically for certain young people sometimes called ‘Dreamers.’

These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag.  They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one:  on paper.  They were brought to this country by their parents — sometimes even as infants — and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license, or a college scholarship. …

That’s what gave rise to the DREAM Act.  It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here for five years, and you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship.  And I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away.”

Well, nasty Republicans wouldn’t sign it. They have this strange idea that the laws should be obeyed, that if the laws need to be changed, then they should be changed. But if you start offering exceptions to the law, the law becomes meaningless. The President continued:

Now, let’s be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people. It is —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  — the right thing to do.

The videos of the event at You Tube all say “heckler Neil Munro.” The president was clearly irritated, but Mr. Munro was not heckling, but asking a question. The media was horrified that anyone would interrupt the President, but his speeches are regularly interrupted. The dreadful Cleveland speech was interrupted three times with comments from the audience, noted in the transcript. Often the interruption will be “We Love You.” which I assume is a plant. The president always responds “I love you back”.

When he says “Let me be clear,” watch out. These ‘children’ are up to the age of 30. There are an estimated 800,000 of them competing for jobs with American citizens who are also just graduating. Today, the evangelicals, Catholic bishops and Focus on the Family, chimed in to say it is the right thing to do. They claimed to have studied the problem, but didn’t mention having studied the law.

However, I  happened upon this “Interactive Map: The Untapped Electoral Power of Latinos and Citizens-in-Waiting.  They are “eligible but unregistered Latino voters” who “could run into the hundreds of thousands or even millions,” at the Center for American Progress, dated on June 12,  before the President’s announcement. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

Democrats are not always so obvious with their pandering to special interest groups.

Mitt Romney did not fall into the trap laid for him by the Democrats. He said these young people need a long term solution, not some temporary thing, and they deserved a serious solution. Yes. Our immigration laws need attention and revision.



Everything You Wanted to Know About Immigration and the Border Wars by The Elephant's Child

The argument about legal and illegal immigration is usually heated and extremely confused. A very large percentage of Americans simply want immigration laws that are obeyed and enforced, and they don’t want drug suppliers or terrorists from Latin America entering the country illegally. We want people here on temporary visas to go home when their time is up. That doesn’t seem either too complicated or in any way unfair.

We prize the text on the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” in recognition of the fact that America is a nation of immigrants, and a lot of tired, poor immigrants have contributed greatly to our country. On the other hand, we want to welcome those who come with big brains  and  big bank accounts who want the freedom to create wonders. We are troubled when foreign students come to our universities to get advanced degrees in engineering and physics and then we send them home, even if they want to stay. And those who overstay their visas need to go home.

Any child born in the United States is a citizen, yet we have “tourists”who come here specifically to give birth to an American citizen. We are troubled by the idea that all of a citizen’s relatives may get a spot in line before others.  The whole immigration thing is impossibly complicated, and enormously political.

Then add in cries of racism, prejudice and ethnic profiling directed at those who want legal limitations on immigration. Many feel empathy for illegal immigrants who have avoided questions about their legal status, settled here and paid taxes, and think they should be offered amnesty. Others see no end to the amnesty because there is a constant influx of illegal immigrants who settle and establish themselves. There are somewhere between 9 million and 11 million illegals here.

Democrats usually favor amnesty and even open borders because they believe that Hispanic immigrants are reliable Democrat voters, and obtaining power is always on the mind of a Democrat politician. Memos from the Department of Homeland Security’s highest ranks show that the Obama administration has tried to form a strategy to achieve amnesty for the illegal  population without input from Congress.

The course decided upon seems to be “prosecutorial discretion” in an ICE memo of June 2011, that prevents the enforcement of immigration law, and is effectively worker authorization for much of the current illegal population. Federal lawyers are escalating their crackdown on tough immigration laws, and challenge state laws in court. The Justice Department has sued Arizona and Alabama, and gone after Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  In January, the administration proposed new hardship rules to make it easier for illegals to apply for legal status if they have a spouse or parent already living here. The Washington Post says “Immigrant-rights groups call the move a “tremendous victory.” Others, who obeyed the rules and came to the country legally are deeply offended.

There are 20.7 million acres of federal land along the U.S.–Mexico border. There are also over 1,000 miles of federal land along the U.S.–Canada border. The number of illegals detained at the border has fallen in recent years— the promise of jobs is down, but there  is an  increase in violent criminals, drug smugglers and human traffickers. Reports of Iran-sponsored activity in Mexico are increasing.

You’ve got the Coronado National Forest, the Sonoran Desert National Monument, The Organ Pipe National Monument and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge which is directly adjacent to the border. Oversight of one sort  or another is provided by the U.S. Forest Service (Dept. of Agriculture) the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Park Service (NPS) — all Department of Interior Agencies. Then you have the Department of Homeland Security, which supervises customs, immigration and naturalization, transportation security, and — the U.S Border Patrol.

The previous paragraph exposes the problems. Who is in charge of what? Add to that the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, Earthjustice, World Wildlife Fund and the Center for Biological Diversity. There are also ranchers who own private land and lease public lands along the border. There’s the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

For  environmental groups, activities that assist in securing the border may do damage to healthy ecosystems. In other words, ecosystems trump security and American safety. DHS has given university researchers a grant of $771,000 to track jaguar wanderings. Since 1996, there have been confirmed sightings of five jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico. Whether these endangered animals are native to Arizona or only visiting from Mexico is unknown. This is a portion of the $6.8 million grant to Interior for environmental projects—to compensate for environmental damage done by illegals and border protection activities including the border fence.

H.R. 1505:  The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act was introduced last April by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) to protect federal lands from being despoiled and to secure the borders. It would “prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from taking action which would impede border security.” In other words, it gives the Border Patrol instead of federal land managers operational control over U.S. borders on public lands. It gives DHS authority over federal lands within 100 miles of the border, and authorization to waive any environmental policies that impede border security.

Turf battle. Enraged Greenies. A serious problem in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, for all the agencies, and for local law enforcement. Obama has directed that only those convicted of serious crimes will be deported. He pushed for the DREAM Act again in the SOTU speech. He has pressured staff to speed up and approve immigrant visa applications, even when fraud is suspected. He has cut back on Border Patrol personnel, and now there’s a new Illegal Alien Czar to make nice with illegals, Latino organizations, the “stakeholder community,” and to fail to remove those who might be potential voters. Andrew Lorenz-Strait is the nation’s first “public advocate” for the U.S. Customs and Enforcement Agency. Obama wants the Latino vote.  And he intends to devise any way he can to get around Congress and do what he pleases.

The drug wars in Mexico are spilling over into Arizona. A woman shopping on a downtown street in El Paso a few days ago, was shot by bullets flying across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Bullets have struck a local high school, City Hall and the University of Texas at El Paso. El Paso is generally safe, but Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in the hemisphere.

Representative Bishop and his committee seem to have drawn up a sensible bill that tries to address the most urgent problems. The current situation is untenable, and the administration attempt to use it as a way to buy votes is shameful. When we do not control the border, that is just the beginning of the problems that result.




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