Category Archives: Immigration

Is Immigration The GOP’s New Wedge Issue ?

According to a Washington Post report, the Republican Party may have found an issue it can ride to electoral success:

When Republican Jim Ogonowski launched his long-shot bid for Congress, he prepared for an upbeat campaign in his Democratic, working-class district of Massachusetts, based on a winning r¿sum¿: affable hay farmer, former Air Force lieutenant colonel, and brother of an American Airlines pilot whose hijacked plane slammed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

But by last month, although opinion polling showed that he was well liked, he was still running 10 points behind Democrat Niki Tsongas with just weeks to go before a special election. The campaign needed a way to go beyond biography, to persuade Northern Massachusetts to vote Republican. They found it in illegal immigration.


“This issue has real implications for the country. It captures all the American people’s anger and frustration not only with immigration, but with the economy,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and an architect of the Democratic congressional victories of 2006. “It’s self-evident. This is a big problem.”

Republicans, sensing a major vulnerability, have been hammering Democrats, forcing Congress to face the question of illegal immigration on every bill they can find, from agriculture spending and housing assistance to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

And, at least according to the polls, its a strategy that appears to be working:

A new national poll for National Public Radio, conducted by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies, found that voters are more likely to side with Democrats than Republicans on war, taxes and spending, the economy, health care and health insurance for children, often by wide margins. On immigration, the Republicans hold a 49 to 44 percent lead.

But even that might be deceptively tight, said Glen Bolger, a partner with Public Opinion Strategies. In the poll, the GOP position was framed as getting control of the border, requiring illegal immigrants to reenter the country legally, stopping illegal immigrants from getting government benefits and sending illegal immigrants who are criminals packing. The Democratic position was, “It is impractical to expel 12 million people, but we need tougher controls at the borders, tougher penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants and we should bar illegal immigrants from getting most government benefits, while allowing the law-abiding immigrants to get on a long path to citizenship.”

That Democratic message is much tougher than the one most voters are hearing, Bolger argued. “They’re actually in worse shape than they think they are,” he said.

So, could the Republican Party turn illegal immigration into a wedge issue that could turn their electoral fortunes around in 2008 ? As improbable as it might seem given the fortunes of the Bush Administration, it certainly seems possible.

The Jack Booted Immigration Police

The New York Times has the story of an American citizen who saw her home raided by police and ICE twice looking for an illegal immigrant who wasn’t there:

Peggy Delarosa-Delgado, a United States citizen, Long Island homeowner and mother of three, was fast asleep when someone banged at the door before 6 a.m. last Thursday.

Her son Christopher, 17, a high school senior, opened the door, and more than a dozen federal immigration agents and one Suffolk County police officer pushed past him, he said later.

Only after the agents had herded her other children into the living room, frightened her aunt and uncle, and drawn a gun on a family friend staying in the basement, Ms. Delarosa-Delgado said, did she awake to discover that her house in Huntington Station had been the mistaken target of a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It was not the first time. In the summer of 2006, she said, agents waving the same photo of a deportable immigrant named Miguel had stormed into her house before dawn. No Miguel has ever lived there, she said — at least not since she bought the place in 2003.

This time, the raid on her house was part of a series of antigang sweeps on Long Island. The raids, which resulted in 186 immigrant arrests, were denounced by officials in Nassau County as riddled with mistakes and marked by misconduct. But on Ms. Delarosa-Delgado’s side of the county line, the Suffolk County police commissioner, Richard Dormer, hailed the sweeps as a successful operation that made the community safer.

Ms. Delarosa-Delgado, 42, a school aide who was born in the Dominican Republic, moved to the United States 24 years ago and became a citizen in 1990, does not feel safer.

“It’s not right,” she said. “My kids were scared. They had to sit in the living room like little criminals.”

There was a time when we actually welcomed people who wanted to come here and find a better life. Now, we drag them away in the middle of the night.

Open Thread: Should There be a Statute of Limitations for Nazi War Criminals?

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) Federal authorities have begun deportation proceedings against an 85-year-old suburban Atlanta man who they say served as a Nazi guard and trained and handled attack dogs at the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps.

The Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security allege Paul Henss, a German citizen who lives in Lawrenceville, about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta, entered the U.S. in 1955 after hiding his concentration camp service.

The Department of Justice announced the action against Henss on Monday; federal authorities filed an immigration document making the allegations Sept. 4.

On Monday, in his driveway in a tidy, middle-class neighborhood where the streets are named after tennis stars, Henss said he had been an SS soldier and had trained German shepherds and Rottweilers during World War II, but he angrily denied being a war criminal.

The question: Should there be a statute of limitations on Nazi war criminals (or war criminals in general) or are the actions of this man so horrible that he should be deported or worse? If the man was only dog handler for the SS should he be considered a war criminal? Should the term “war criminal” apply to anyone who served in any capacity (no matter how minor) in support of the Nazi cause?

Federal Judge Strikes Down Anti-Immigration Law

A U.S. District Court Judge in Pennsylvania has struck down a City of Hazleton ordinance targeting illegal immigrants:

HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday struck down Hazleton’s tough anti-illegal immigration law, ruling unconstitutional a measure that has been copied around the country.

The city’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act sought to impose fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and deny business permits to companies that give them jobs. Another measure would have required tenants to register with City Hall and pay for a rental permit.


In a 206-page opinion, Munley said the act was pre-empted by federal law and would violate due process rights.

”Whatever frustrations … the city of Hazleton may feel about the current state of federal immigration enforcement, the nature of the political system in the United States prohibits the city from enacting ordinances that disrupt a carefully drawn federal statutory scheme,” Munley wrote.

”Even if federal law did not conflict with Hazleton’s measures, the city could not enact an ordinance that violates rights the Constitution guarantees to every person in the United States, whether legal resident or not,” he added.

On some level, this result is, as James Joyner called it, a no-brainer. The U.S. Constitution clearly gives Congress exclusive control over immigration issues and the Constitution also makes clear that Federal Law is supreme over state or local laws in areas where the Federal Government has jurisdiction.

To put it in simple terms, Hazleton simply doesn’t have the jurisdiction or the authority to do what they tried to do here.

This case will no doubt be appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and, quite possibly, the Supreme Court, so this isn’t over yet, but I think that Judge Munley got it right.

Originally posted at Below The Beltway

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