Cheap Seats 2018
Lawlessness - 01/24
By Rich Trzupek
As I write this, we are in day 2 of the latest government shutdown. By the time you read this, hopefully it will be over.
I’m not particularly bothered by government shutdowns, with the notable exception of the hardship it imposes on military families. Other than that, I don’t think the country suffers too much from a temporary reduction in bureaucratic red tape production.
Hijacking the budget in an attempt to force an answer to a question that doesn’t need to be solved immediately is, of course, reprehensible. It’s nothing short of blackmail, as Democrats rightly observed when Republicans tried to attach the repeal of Obamacare to another continuing resolution to keep the government funded when Obama was president.
Most, not all, Democrats claim this move was necessary to protect innocent children who were born to illegal immigrants, or were themselves illegal immigrants. They believe, or claim to believe, that without another DACA re-up President Trump will initiate the deportation of the innocents.
It’s nonsense of course. Such a move would be tantamount to committing political suicide and whatever you may think of the Donald, he’s not an idiot. The problem with DACA is not about the children that are here illegally, it’s about Congress doing its job and, more importantly, about the rule of law.
DACA was policy, not legislation. The reason the president set a drop-dead date for DACA was not to screw kids already here. (See my December 20, 2017 Cheap Seats “Dreaming” for more). The president set a drop-dead date for DACA in an attempt to get Congress off its collective ass and pass sensible legislation that will return sanity to our immigration system.
There is a feeling among many people that America should welcome refugees practically without limit, some even advocate open borders. Why shouldn’t everyone be free to live in this wonderful land of opportunity?
People who take such positions typically do so for the best of reasons. They’re empathetic. They recognize that there are billions of people around the world living in abject poverty. They want to help.
I get it. I’ve worked in the Middle East where dirt poor Ethiopian and Sudanese laborers work for slave wages and sleep in old school buses converted into dormitories. And, when you talk to them, they count themselves lucky to have the job and to be able to send money home to their families. Imagine what life back home for them is like, if this kind of existence is preferable.
If we could fix the life of every impoverished family in the world, that would be marvelous indeed, but we cannot. As blessed and rich as we are, there is a finite limit to our blessings and wealth. That is why America controlled immigration through a quota system starting in the 1920s.
What set America apart from its inception was that the nation was governed by the rule of law. When you abandon the law, anarchy or tyranny fills the void. The immigration fiasco is a perfect example of the phenomenon. Absent any action by Congress, President Obama acted unilaterally to implement DACA, a policy that was law in everything but name.
That’s imperial power the president should not have. It’s the sort of power that leads to tyranny. The reason for attempting to force Congress to do its job is not a desire to deport 800,000-some illegals already residing in this country. It is rather to preserve a system of governance that makes America a nation in which people want to live.