“The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion, and on application of the legislature or the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened), against domestic violence.” – U.S. Constitution, Art. IV, Sec. 4
Documents surfaced last week showing that AFGE Council 118 ICE, the union that represents over 7,000 detention and removal agents within Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), issued a vote of no-confidence in ICE Director John Morton and Assistant Director of the ICE Office of Detention and Policy and Planning, Phyllis Coven. According to a statement issued by the Union, the action reflects “the growing dissatisfaction among ICE employees and Union Leaders that Director Morton and Assistant Director Phyllis Coven have abandoned the Agency’s core mission of enforcing United States immigration laws and enforcing public safety, and have instead directed their attention to campaigning for programs and policies relating to amnesty…” (AFGE National Council 118 Letter, June 25, 2010).
In the scathing release, the ICE union also accuses Director Morton and Assistant Director Coven of:
- Dedicating “more time to immigration reforms aimed at large-scale amnesty legislation, than advising the public and Federal lawmakers of the severity of the illegal immigration problem;
- Misleading the public regarding the effectiveness of the Secure Communities program and using it as a selling point to move forward with amnesty legislation;
- Refusing to alert Congress as to the severity of the problem regarding criminal aliens and to request additional resources to provide better enforcement and support of local agencies;
- Prohibiting the majority of ERO agents from making arrests or enforcing United States immigration laws outside of the institutional (i.e. jail) setting; and
- Implementing detention reforms that have created a “resort like living conditions to criminal aliens.”
When asked about criticism of him and his agency, Morton was dismissive. “You develop a thick skin in a job like this,” said Morton. “I’d imagine that for some other senior leaders in government, the day when someone calls for their resignation would be the day they’d remember throughout their career. That’s just part of the territory here.” (Washington Post, July 19, 2010). However, Janice Kephart, Director of National Security Policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, noted that a unanimous rebuke from one’s entire workforce of agents is under no circumstances a typical critique of a government official. Morton, she states, cannot do his job unless the agents can do theirs. But then again, she notes, maybe this is the point. (CIS blog, August 4, 2010)
Republican Leaders Voice Support for Re-Examining Birthright Citizenship
In a fast-paced turn of events over the past week, Republican leaders in both the House and Senate have voiced their support for examining the issue of birthright citizenship. The debate over birthright citizenship was revived nearly ten days ago when amnesty advocate Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced he may introduce a constitutional amendment to end the practice of automatically granting citizenship to children born in the United States regardless of the parents’ immigration status. (Politico, July 29, 2010) Graham’s statements immediately grabbed headlines and sparked furious opposition from amnesty advocates.
But despite such criticism, over the past week key Republican Leaders have echoed Graham’s desire to examine the issue. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stopped short of endorsing an amendment to the Constitution, but said “I think we ought to take a look at it — hold hearings, listen to the experts on it,” (The Hill, Aug. 2, 2010). McConnell’s statements were similar to Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) who said he suggested to Senator Graham that “we should hold some hearings and hear first from the constitutional experts to at least tell us what the state of the law on that proposition is.” (Id.)
Other prominent Senators have voiced their support for holding hearings on birthright citizenship. Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said, “It’s very much worthy of discussion,” adding that he thought hearings are a good way to do it. “I’d like to see somebody draft an amendment, and let’s see what it says.” (Politico, Aug. 4, 2010). Meanwhile Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who is in a heated primary battle, was a little more reserved in his support, stating simply that he supports “the concept of holding hearings.” (Id.)
On the House side, Minority Leader John Boehner announced his support for studying a possible change birthright citizenship on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I think it’s worth considering,” he said. (Meet the Press transcript, Aug. 8, 2010) “[T]here is a problem. To provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to come here so that their children can be U.S. citizens does, in fact, draw more people to our country….[I]n certain parts of our country, clearly, our schools, our hospitals, are being overrun by illegal immigrants, a lot of whom came here just so their children could become U.S. citizens.”
The controversy surrounding birthright citizenship stems from one clause in the first sentence of the 14th Amendment, which reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” This sentence has been interpreted to automatically grant citizenship to any child born within the territorial United States, regardless of whether their parents are tourists, business travelers, or even illegal aliens. Some scholars argue that birthright citizenship was never intended to be a blanket citizenship to the children of all persons born within the territorial United States. Their research supports the argument that the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment intended the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” to mean those having allegiance to the United States government, not those who are merely physically located on U.S. territory. (See FAIR’s Issue Brief, April 2008). They also argue that Section 5 of the 14th Amendment, which reads, “The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article,” grants Congress broad authority to define the phrase by statute.
Whether Congress moves forward with hearings on birthright citizenship is uncertain. What is clear is that the existing interpretation of the first sentence of the 14th Amendment resulting in birthright citizenship has led to significant abuse of the U.S. immigration system. Despite the fact that their parents broke U.S. immigration laws, children of illegal aliens automatically become citizens, are eligible for benefits, and are able to petition to bring their parents into the U.S. when they reach 21. Texas alone last year had approximately 60,000 such births. (Dallas Morning News, Aug. 8, 2010). At Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, data show that the hospital handled 11,071 births last year to women who could not provide proof of U.S. citizenship – or 74 percent of the total 14,872 births at the hospital. Most of these women are believed to be in the country illegally. (Dallas Morning News, Aug. 8, 2010). There has also been a rapid growth of “birth tourism,” an industry in which companies organize pregnant women from other countries to come to the U.S. to give birth so that their children will become U.S. citizens. In April of this year, ABC News reported that data from the National Center for Health Statistics showed that the number of U.S. births to non-resident mothers rose 53 percent between 2000 and 2006. (ABC News, Apr. 14, 2010).
A biased ruling on gay marriage in California
U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker should have recused himself, but he had a legal and political statement he wanted to make.
By Tim Wildmon
August 13, 2010
The people of California spoke clearly at the polls in 2008 when they passed an amendment to the state Constitution that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The public debate was held, the media wars were fought, both sides spent millions of dollars and the people voted for Proposition 8 by a margin of 52% to 48%.
The people’s will carried the day, as it is supposed to — until U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker came along.
Last week, Walker nullified the votes of 7,001,084 people. In his decision to invalidate the constitutional amendment, he wrote: “That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 is irrelevant.”
This judge believes that defining a person by sexual behavior is the same as defining a person by skin color. And given the fact that he is widely reported to be homosexual, it is obvious he believed this before the case was even brought to his courtroom. Walker should have recused himself, but he had a legal and political statement he wanted to make.
Colin L. Powell once said of this comparison: “Skin color is a benign, nonbehavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is a convenient but invalid argument.”
This case will end up in the U.S. Supreme Court sometime soon, and there will be a 4-4 split in opinion, leaving the decision once again to one man in a black robe — Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
The Constitution envisioned a system in which the judiciary would serve to check the excesses of the legislative or executive branches. But today, federal judges have far exceeded their intended role, becoming little gods in our republic. They have lifetime appointments, and their only accountability is the potential for impeachment.
But in the history of our country, only 15 judges have been impeached by the House of Representatives. Of those, four were acquitted, seven were convicted, three resigned and one is still pending. In other words, Congress almost never removes federal judges. For all practical purposes, the checks and balances of the federal government no longer exist. The judiciary trumps. Our country is basically now run by judges.
Thomas Jefferson warned about this possibility in a Sept. 28, 1820, letter to William Jarvis: “You seem … to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so … and their power [is] the more dangerous, as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots.”
The Founding Fathers understood the selfish and sinful nature of man and therefore divided the government up so that no one branch would be all powerful over the other branches or over the American people. What we have today is judicial tyranny and exactly what Jefferson feared. Unless Congress asserts its constitutional power of impeachment, judges will continue to impose their personal opinions on whatever controversy is before them, regardless of what the Constitution does or does not say.
In his ruling, Walker wrote: “The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples.”
This is clearly a judge imposing his personal opinions. What Walker is saying is that you cannot hold a valid view about marriage if you base it on religion or morality. Those are illegitimate considerations in his worldview.
Contrast Walker’s dismissal of our country’s rich Judeo-Christian heritage with George Washington’s affirmation in his famous farewell address: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
If moral and religious values are no longer valid, what does the judge put in their place? I would suggest, as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, that we continue to rely on, and revere, “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”
Tim Wildmon is president of American Family Assn., a national organization promoting traditional values.
Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times
Pauline Jelinek and Julie Pace – Associated Press Writers – 8/15/2010 6:45:00 AM
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – President Barack Obama is under fire for his endorsement of a proposed mosque near the site of the 9-11 Islamic terrorist attack in New York City.
Speaking to a gathering at the White House Friday evening to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Obama said that he believes “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.”
“That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” he said. “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”
Asked Saturday about the issue during his trip to Florida, Obama tried to reframe his Friday remarks saying “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding.”
Obama said that “my intention was simply to let people know what I thought. Which was that in this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion.
“What he said last night, and reaffirmed today, is that if a church, a synagogue or a Hindu temple can be built on a site, you simply cannot deny that right to those who want to build a mosque,” Burton said.
“I think he’s right – I mean you know we’re a country that in my view stands for freedom of religion and respect for others,” Crist said after the Florida meeting with Obama and other officials. “I know there are sensitivities and I understand them. This is a place where you’re supposed to be able to practice your religion without the government telling you you can’t.”
“The fact that someone has the right to do something doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do,” Boehner said. “That is the essence of tolerance, peace and understanding.”
“President Obama is wrong. It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero.”
“President Obama has this all wrong and I strongly oppose his support for building a mosque near ground zero especially since Islamic terrorists have bragged and celebrated destroying the Twin Towers and killing nearly 3,000 Americans,” said Greene. “Freedom of religion might provide the right to build the mosque in the shadow of ground zero, but common sense and respect for those who lost their lives and loved ones gives sensible reason to build the mosque someplace else.”
The mosque would be part of a $100 million Islamic community center two blocks from where nearly 3,000 people perished when hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
The proposed construction has sparked debate around the country that has included opposition from top Republicans including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich as well as the Jewish civil rights group the Anti-Defamation League.