system is broken

"The [immigration] system is broken"

A popular and misleading talking point from supporters of comprehensive immigration reform goes something like this quote from Barack Obama:

"We have a broken immigration system. Nobody denies it."

That's misleading because the problem isn't with our rules and laws so much as the fact that they aren't enforced. There wouldn't be a problem with illegal immigration if politicians would simply allow our laws to be enforced. If you consider "system" to including not just our laws but the enforcement of those laws, then the statement isn't misleading. However, since it's almost always said in the context of supporting changes to those laws, it is misleading.

This talking point is like a shady mechanic removing all the spark plugs from your car's engine and then saying, "see, your engine doesn't work."

Last modified Jul 16, 2010
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Questions for Michelle Obama about immigration - 06/18/14

Taking a break from her many other tasks, Michelle Obama spoke [1] at a naturalization ceremony earlier today and, as many other past and present political figures have done, used the opportunity to promote comprehensive immigration reform.

John Oliver misleads about immigration, helps the wealthy harm American workers (HBO, "Undocumented Opinions") - 06/16/14

John Oliver is an unfunny English comic who was previously on Jon Stewart's show and who now has his own program on HBO called Last Week Tonight.

Aaron Schock's treacherous, out-of-touch immigration comments - 04/22/14

On the video below, Rep. Aaron Schock (GOP of Illinois) makes immigration comments that are nearly as treacherous as some George W Bush made. But, the hallmark of Schock's comments is not so much how un-American they are, but how out-of-touch they are.

Jim Wallis has a low opinion of his supporters (Sojourners, immigration reform) - 02/19/14

If you're a follower of Jim Wallis of Sojourners, I have some bad news: he has a very low opinion of you. In a post at Time Magazine [1], he writes false and misleading statements that would make a used car salesman blush. And, apparently he thinks his supporters aren't going to pick up on how he's misleading them.

GOP "Standards for Immigration Reform": how it's wrong, how it won't work, what you can do - 01/30/14

The GOP "Standards for Immigration Reform" have been released. It's a short summary of the guidelines the Republican Party leadership will use for their own amnesty push.

First I'll quote the full document, followed by a discussion of some of the ways it won't work and it misleads. That's followed by some very effective things you can do to stop the GOP effort.

Jose DelReal makes Politico immigration coverage even worse - 01/21/14

Politico's immigration coverage is already very bad, but their reporter Jose DelReal is apparently working at making it even worse.

For example, DelReal [1] offers "States boost immigration action" ( ) which contains this:

10 immigration questions for Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook, - 11/24/13

The video [1] below shows Mark Zuckerberg - CEO of Facebook and founder of the advocacy group FWD . us - promoting comprehensive immigration reform.

Scott Walker supports mass immigration, probably including amnesty - 11/20/13

As usual for those in the Koch family sphere, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker supports large-scale immigration. That is, a system where many more people could come here legally than do so currently.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, USCCB mislead about immigration in letter to John Boehner - 11/08/13

On November 7, Cardinal Timothy Dolan - Archbishop of New York and president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops - sent a letter [1] to House speaker John Boehner demanding comprehensive immigration reform.

Jason Stverak misleads about immigration and the free market (Franklin Center, Koch, Krieble) - 10/04/13

In Forbes, Jason Stverak of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity offers "To Achieve Real Immigration Reform, Put The Free Market Front And Center" ( ).

Ted Cruz wants to legalize most illegal aliens, double legal immigration, increase H1B cap to 325,000 - 09/29/13

On the video below [1], Senator Ted Cruz of Texas finally confirms just how bad he is on immigration. Rather than strongly opposing the Senate amnesty bill and completely opposing any form of mass legalization, Ted Cruz wanted to "fix" the Senate bill.

On the video, Cruz talks about what his amendments would do. This is what he supports:

Questions for Kelly Ayotte about comprehensive immigration reform (amnesty, New Hampshire) - 06/09/13

New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte comes out for comprehensive immigration reform (aka amnesty) in an OpEd entitled "Why I'm backing legislation to fix our broken immigration system" [1].

How is Gene Sperling misleading on economics and immigration reform? - 03/13/13

At the White House blog, Obama economic advisor Gene Sperling offers the highly misleading post "The Economic Case for Commonsense Immigration Reform" [1].

Paul Ryan supports Marco Rubio's immigration amnesty - 01/14/13

On his Facebook page, Rep. Paul Ryan writes [1]:

Senator Rubio is exactly right on the need to fix our broken immigration system. I support the principles he's outlined: modernization of our immigration laws; stronger security to curb illegal immigration; and respect for the rule of law in addressing the complex challenge of the undocumented population. Our future depends on an immigration system that works.

Elizabeth Emken on immigration: weak, GOP boilerplate (amnesty, California, Feinstein) - 09/10/12

Elizabeth Emken is the GOP challenger to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, a state that's been greatly harmed by massive illegal immigration.

Democratic Party 2012 platform on immigration: why it's wrong - 09/04/12

The section about immigration in the Democratic Party 2012 platform is below. It only has broad outlines and countless Democratic leaders have repeated these same things many times before.

They were wrong then, and the platform is wrong now (see each link for the details):

Paul Ryan is bad on immigration, find out how much (Mitt Romney VP pick) - 08/11/12

Paul Ryan - Mitt Romney's choice for running mate - is on the wrong side of the immigration issue. Not only would he harm middle- and working-class Americans and help the wealthy in direct economic ways, but he'd do the same on the immigration front as well.

Mitt Romney now pandering on immigration reform - 04/03/12

Mitt Romney and his incompetent advisors are inching him closer and closer to a weak immigration position that validates Obama's position on the issue. Romney's advisors clearly aren't smart enough to understand that won't work.

Tom Vilsack promotes illegal activity, uses bogus "crops rotting" line - 02/24/12

At the Department of Agriculture's 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Ag secretary Tom Vilsack once again promoted illegal activity now and an amnesty or guest workers program for illegal aliens in the future.

Center for American Progress unwittingly admits attrition works (Leah Muse-Orlinoff, immigration, self deport) - 02/22/12

The Center for American Progress has released a study in which they attempt to claim that immigration attrition (see the link) doesn't work. What they do instead is unwittingly admit that it does work, it just needs to be nationwide.

Leah Muse-Orlinoff [1] offers "Staying Put but Still in the Shadows: Undocumented Immigrants Remain in the Country Despite Strict Laws" [1]:

10 things Obama's "Blueprint for an America Built to Last" doesn't tell you (immigration) - 02/01/12

After the State of the Union speech, the Barack Obama administration released a "Blueprint for an America Built to Last" [1]. I'll briefly describe what the section about immigration doesn't tell you. Here's the section of the Blueprint that deals with immigration:

Obama at NCLR: "yes, but..." on immigration enforcement; promotes jobs for possible illegal alien construction workers; DREAM Act; comprehensive reform... - 07/25/11

Barack Obama appeared at the National Council of La Raza convention earlier today; see the last link for our extensive coverage of that group. His unremarkable remarks are at [1]: he didn't really say anything that he hasn't said before. As he's done before, he misled, such as by using the system is broken canard.

With millions unemployed, Ag Secy Tom Vilsack demeans American workers, promotes amnesty, opposes enforcement, uses bogus talking points, opposes eVerify - 05/27/11

Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack held a press conference on Wednesday in which he demeaned American workers, promoted immigration "reform", opposed immigration enforcement, and used a series of bogus immigration talking points.

An account of his remarks is here, with more excerpts at [1].

1. Vilsack ran down American workers, saying: "While some American citizens step up and take (farm) jobs, the truth is even when farmers make their best effort to recruit a domestic workforce, few citizens express interest. In large part that's because this is hard, tough work." The idea that growers want to recruit Americans is more than a bit dubious; many run down American workers as much as Vilsack. Growers tend to prefer lower-wage, more compliant illegal aliens. And, we sent a man to the moon and won World War II, now Vilsack falsely says that most Americans don't want hard work. That's also more than a bit dubious because a good percentage of those doing farm work are in fact Americans. And, there's the fact that the presence of large numbers of illegal aliens tends to reduce farm wages at the same time as decreasing safety in farm jobs.

The pro-American alternative would be for Vilsack to oppose illegal immigration and push something like this plan to get unemployed Americans working temporary farm jobs until the economy improves. That would answer the labor shortage complaints of farmers, improve working conditions on farms, and would save money overall (considering that most of those unemployed will be getting unemployment insurance and considering the costs of illegal aliens).

2. Vilsack supported comprehensive immigration reform, aka amnesty. See the link for the downsides of that plan [1].

3. One of the key selling points of immigration "reform" is that it would include stepped-up enforcement. Vilsack seems not to be such a fan of enforcement, saying: "It's difficult to know when someone is documented and when someone isn't. It's difficult when there are efforts at enforcement that basically disrupt not only undocumented folks but also documented … which we've seen in some of the processing facilities." If "reform" passed, does anyone think Vilsack would do a 180 and support "disrupt[ive]" immigration raids?

4. Vilsack used a long list of bogus talking points. The first item above is the jobs Americans wont do canard, but there were several more. From the article:

Reforms would result in "a reliable, legal workforce," said Vilsack. Reforms would also:

* Continue efforts "to secure the borders."
* Hold accountable "businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers."

The first is secure the border. The second is what boils down to the immigration wage floor. See both links.

Vilsack also used the deportations false choice, saying "The reality is, if you tried to deport all 12 million it would take several hundred years. That isn't practical." See the link for how he tried to mislead.

Vilsack - just as his boss, George W Bush, and dozens of other hacks have done - used the system is broken canard [2].

5. Vilsack also ran down the eVerify program, at least as a standalone solutiion, saying: "The E-Verify system creates a potential difficulty, particularly for smaller businesses... That's because they'd have to invest resources in equipment and training to participate."

Vilsack was accompanied by Bob Stallman, the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, who engaged in crops rotting in the fields scare tactics:

"Our concern is that without a legal agricultural guest worker program in place – or without comprehensive immigration reform – you have roughly 500,000 workers out there that, frankly, would be screened out (by) a mandatory E-Verify program. If that happens, the risk of production losses, or production moving outside the country, is very real... If you just put in a mandatory E-Verify program, there's suddenly a huge gap in agricultural that must be filled from somewhere. Otherwise, the crops won't be planted and harvested. That's the reality."

[1] Vilsack: "There needs to be a comprehensive immigration system that deals with the 12 million people here, many working in our farm fields."

[2] Vilsack: "I've met farmers and ranchers all over this country who are worried about the broken immigration system... Simply put, our broken immigration system offers little hope for producers trying to do the right thing and make a living...

Obama misleads about immigration yet again (May 10, 2011 El Paso version) - 05/10/11

For the past three years or so, Barack Obama has been giving the same immigration speech. In fact, his speeches about the topic aren't that much different from those that George W Bush and a multitude of other hacks have read.

Obama misleads on immigration at Facebook; Zuckerberg and incompetent/corrupt GOP, Teaparty leaders help - 04/21/11

Barack Obama spoke live over Facebook yesterday at an event sponsored by that company. He misled about immigration and promoted an anti-American bill. He got direct help with his attempt to mislead from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and he got indirect help from corrupt or incompetent GOP and Teaparty leaders:

Utah Compact would encourage illegal immigration (Mark Shurtleff, Chamber, Sutherland, Catholic Church) - 11/11/10

Earlier today a group of business leaders and public officials signed "The Utah Compact" (, a small set of principles on immigration. Rather than curbing illegal immigration, their ideas would encourage more of it. Those involved include Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, the Utah Chamber of Commerce, the Sutherland Institute [1], the Catholic Church, and Salt Lake City mayor Ralph Becker [2].

Here's their first of five points:

Immigration is a federal policy issue between the U.S. government and other countries - not Utah and other countries. We urge Utah's congressional delegation, and others, to lead efforts to strengthen federal laws and protect our national borders. We urge state leaders to adopt reasonable policies addressing immigrants in Utah.

We don't allow states to set their own foreign policy (even if some localities try to work around that), but immigration is much more than just an abstract policy between countries. In many cases it causes harm to states and massive illegal immigration indicates a dereliction of duty on the part of the federal government. Simply "urg[ing]" Congress to do something isn't enough. Their point would allow Congress and the rest of the federal government to continue the current situation. As for their "reasonable policies", one can only wonder what those would be. Shurtleff supports both drivers licenses and in-state tuition for illegal aliens (see DREAM Act), so perhaps we have a clue. As for "protect our national borders", see secure the border.

Their second point:

We respect the rule of law and support law enforcement’s professional judgment and discretion. Local law enforcement resources should focus on criminal activities, not civil violations of federal code.

In other words, they're against the 287g program. Considering that the Department of Homeland Security does relatively little interior enforcement, they'd be sending a message that all illegal aliens have to do is keep their nose clean (aside from the odd identity theft here and there) and they'd get to stay here.

The third:

Strong families are the foundation of successful communities. We oppose policies that unnecessarily separate families. We champion policies that support families and improve the health, education and well-being of all Utah children.

That's an example of false compassion. If they oppose separating families then they should be opposing illegal immigration. Unless we declare open borders, encouraging even more mixed-status families will only lead to more separation instances. The vast majority of illegal aliens came here of their own free will and fully knowing the risks. They're the ones who put themselves and their families in a precarious position. The Utah Compact would seek to blame U.S. laws and the citizens who want them enforced for the situation.

The fourth:

Utah is best served by a free-market philosophy that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. We acknowledge the economic role immigrants play as workers and taxpayers. Utah’s immigration policies must reaffirm our global reputation as a welcoming and business-friendly state.

Their "free-market philosophy" is more than a bit skewed. Most illegal aliens and many legal immigrants are lower-skilled, and lower-skilled labor is massively subsidized (an example). Their idea of a "free market" is actually an example of "privatizing the profits and socializing the costs": those who'd profit from the labor of illegal aliens (or from their bank deposits) wouldn't pay the full cost of that labor but would shunt the costs of incarceration, schooling, welfare, and so on to the residents of Utah or to the federal government.


Immigrants are integrated into communities across Utah. We must adopt a humane approach to this reality, reflecting our unique culture, history and spirit of inclusion. The way we treat immigrants will say more about us as a free society and less about our immigrant neighbors. Utah should always be a place that welcomes people of goodwill.

This is the paragraph were they most try to conflate illegal and legal immigration, and it too is an example of false compassion. Their "humane" approach would encourage more illegal immigration, leading to more mixed-status families, more family separation, and angrier residents as the laws continued not to be enforced. That paragraph is also a Utah-specific version of the immigration tradition fallacy.

And, as a bonus, the announcement for their signing ceremony indicates that their goal is to "create a constructive, civil community dialogue about Utah’s role in fixing the nation's broken immigration system" which uses the misleading system is broken canard.

Those involved in the Compact would encourage more illegal immigration and create more problems for Utah and the U.S. Don't fall for their false compassion.

[1] From they're a "conservative, non-profit, state-based public policy group".
[2] Others involved are listed at
[3] From this (Deseret News, 12/10/06 ):

Shurtleff also has cultivated strong ties to the Latino community because he has been sympathetic to the plight of illegal aliens. He has weighed in on various issues, such as allowing the children of illegals to have drivers' licenses and to pay in-state college tuition. As a result, he has been criticized him for being pro- illegal aliens.

Obama thinks illegal aliens are Americans; forgets about massive unemployment; promotes massive immigration - 09/29/10

Yesterday, Barack Obama was asked about immigration in Albuquerque, New Mexico and:

1. He referred to illegal aliens as "us"; he's given them citizenship in his own mind or he's confused about basic American concepts...
2. He seemed not to remember that millions of Americans are unemployed...
3. And, he generally promoted massive immigration. He did that with a series of canards and at one point sounded just like George W Bush.

Video of the appearance is at and for the first, here's what he said [1]:

Now, unfortunately, right now this is getting demagogued. A lot of folks think it’s an easy way to score political points is by trying to act as if there’s a “them” and an “us,” instead of just an “us.” And I’m always suspicious of politics that is dividing people instead of bringing them together. I think now is the time for us to come together.

Obviously, there is a "them" and an "us". The "us" are U.S. citizens, including those who voted for Obama. The "them" are foreign citizens. Obama has either naturalized all 12 million or so illegal aliens in his mind, or he's unclear on the very concept of U.S. citizenship. Considering his past comments it could be either one of those or a combination; he hasn't shown that he has a fundamental grasp of American concepts in past speeches (this, this are just two examples)

For the second, as if he hadn't paid attention to what's been going on with the economy for several years, he said:

[immigration] means our economy's more vital, and we've got more people in the workforce who are gonna be out there workin' and startin' businesses and supporting us when we're retired, makin' sure Social Security is solvent, all those things are important

He sounded just like George Bush both in content and in delivery. Did he forget about the millions of unemployed, the stimulus plan, and all of that? Pretending he's speaking about long-term gains isn't going to wash since those gains can be wiped out by protracted downturns such as the one we're currently experiencing, including where we have five workers for every job opening.

Other than those two, the rest was a regular Festival of Canards.

He used, as one might expect, the nation of immigrants canard. Of course, he also hastens to remind us - as they all do - that we're a nation of laws too. Then, he uses a variant of the safe legal orderly shibboleth ("we have to make sure our immigration system is orderly, and fair.")

He then admits that allowing illegal immigration isn't fair to those in other countries waiting to come here legally. However, that follows him blaming the system for that, a variant of system is broken.

He then states we need to "affirm our immigrant traditions"; see immigration tradition fallacy.

He then states, "yes, let's secure our borders"; see secure the border.

Making a false claim about policy, he thinks if we made legal immigration easier we'd reduce illegal immigration. He ignores the fact that there are about 6.5 billion people outside the U.S. (and about 5 billion of them are poorer than Mexicans). And, a large percentage of those people would come here if they could. So many would want to come here that we could raise legal immigration from now til doomsday and it would only make illegal immigration worse.

He wants to crack down on employers, but the only reasons he mentions are from the perspective of illegal aliens: he doesn't want them to be underpaid, etc. I don't want that either, but the more relevant reason to crack down on employers is to make sure they hire Americans or legal workers. See the somewhat related immigration wage floor, although he didn't mention the impact of illegal aliens being hired on Americans at all.

He then expresses support for comprehensive immigration reform; see the link for the downsides he didn't acknowledge.

He also says "economically, immigrants can also be a huge source of strength", mentioning that we have a younger workforce than Europe or Japan. Except, their population is much more educated than most of our immigrants.


Obama immigration speech, July 1, 2010 - 07/01/10

On Thursday, July 1, 2010, Barack Obama gave a speech in support of comprehensive immigration reform and his remarks are at

In recent days, the issue of immigration has become once more a source of fresh contention in our country, with the passage of a controversial law in Arizona and the heated reactions we’ve seen across America. Some have rallied behind this new policy. Others have protested and launched boycotts of the state. And everywhere, people have expressed frustration with a system that seems fundamentally broken.

See system is broken for why the last bit is misleading.

Of course, the tensions around immigration are not new. On the one hand, we’ve always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants -- a nation that welcomes those willing to embrace America’s precepts. Indeed, it is this constant flow of immigrants that helped to make America what it is. The scientific breakthroughs of Albert Einstein, the inventions of Nikola Tesla, the great ventures of Andrew Carnegie’s U.S. Steel and Sergey Brin’s Google, Inc. -– all this was possible because of immigrants.

See nation of immigrants and note the shout-out to Obama's friends at Google corporate (see also Youtube corporate).

And then there are the countless names and the quiet acts that never made the history books but were no less consequential in building this country -- the generations who braved hardship and great risk to reach our shores in search of a better life for themselves and their families; the millions of people, ancestors to most of us, who believed that there was a place where they could be, at long last, free to work and worship and live their lives in peace.

The "most of us" part recalls Obama's "reconquista"-style comments before the election.

So this steady stream of hardworking and talented people has made America the engine of the global economy and a beacon of hope around the world. And it’s allowed us to adapt and thrive in the face of technological and societal change. To this day, America reaps incredible economic rewards because we remain a magnet for the best and brightest from across the globe. Folks travel here in the hopes of being a part of a culture of entrepreneurship and ingenuity, and by doing so they strengthen and enrich that culture. Immigration also means we have a younger workforce -– and a faster-growing economy -- than many of our competitors. And in an increasingly interconnected world, the diversity of our country is a powerful advantage in global competition.

Some immigration is good, some isn't so good; Obama isn't making a distinction. For a counter-example to his comments, see How immigration changed California for the worse (education, income inequality...) Obama goes on to praise immigration in general in two more paragraphs, then:

Now, we can’t forget that this process of immigration and eventual inclusion has often been painful. Each new wave of immigrants has generated fear and resentments towards newcomers, particularly in times of economic upheaval. Our founding was rooted in the notion that America was unique as a place of refuge and freedom for, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, “oppressed humanity.” But the ink on our Constitution was barely dry when, amidst conflict, Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which placed harsh restrictions of those suspected of having foreign allegiances. A century ago, immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Poland, other European countries were routinely subjected to rank discrimination and ugly stereotypes. Chinese immigrants were held in detention and deported from Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay. They didn’t even get to come in... ...So the politics of who is and who is not allowed to enter this country, and on what terms, has always been contentious. And that remains true today. And it’s made worse by a failure of those of us in Washington to fix a broken immigration system.

He isn't even acknowledging that those who might want to cut back immigration during "times of economic upheaval" might have a point. In Obama's mind, we have to keep on admitting immigrants no matter what. Which, in fact, we have been doing: hundreds of thousands more foreign citizens got work permits than any stimulus jobs "created or saved". And, many "newcomers" do in fact have foreign allegiances. Adding in all the examples here would take too long, but start at immigration march organizers have foreign links. The "they didn't even get to come in" is like something a child would say, and it seeks to deny us the right to decide who can come into our country. While some of the exclusion of Chinese might have been based on invalid reasons, other parts were based on a policy decision regarding large numbers of low-skilled workers taking jobs from Americans. Apparently in Obama's world there were enough low-skilled jobs to go around then just as - in his world - there are now. For even more on the fallacy he's engaging in, see immigration tradition fallacy.

To begin with, our borders have been porous for decades. Obviously, the problem is greatest along our Southern border, but it’s not restricted to that part of the country. In fact, because we don’t do a very good job of tracking who comes in and out of the country as visitors, large numbers avoid immigration laws simply by overstaying their visas... The result is an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The overwhelming majority of these men and women are simply seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Many settle in low-wage sectors of the economy; they work hard, they save, they stay out of trouble. But because they live in the shadows, they’re vulnerable to unscrupulous businesses who pay them less than the minimum wage or violate worker safety rules -– thereby putting companies who follow those rules, and Americans who rightly demand the minimum wage or overtime, at an unfair [dis]advantage. Crimes go unreported as victims and witnesses fear coming forward. And this makes it harder for the police to catch violent criminals and keep neighborhoods safe. And billions in tax revenue are lost each year because many undocumented workers are paid under the table.

The reason the borders are porous isn't because Washington hasn't fixed the system, it's because Washington is too corrupt to do its job. Obama could easily secure the border if he wanted, and likewise with his predecessors. All of the negatives Obama states are ones that those like he helped bring about.

More fundamentally, the presence of so many illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are going through the process of immigrating legally. Indeed, after years of patchwork fixes and ill-conceived revisions, the legal immigration system is as broken as the borders. Backlogs and bureaucracy means the process can take years. While an applicant waits for approval, he or she is often forbidden from visiting the United States –- which means even husbands and wives may be forced to spend many years apart. High fees and the need for lawyers may exclude worthy applicants. And while we provide students from around the world visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities, our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or power a new industry right here in the United States. Instead of training entrepreneurs to create jobs on our shores, we train our competition.

Obama's solution to the current backlog would involve either adding yet another huge backlog, or legalizing illegal aliens without doing thorough background checks. The second part of the above would involve braindraining the world.

In sum, the system is broken. And everybody knows it. Unfortunately, reform has been held hostage to political posturing and special-interest wrangling -– and to the pervasive sentiment in Washington that tackling such a thorny and emotional issue is inherently bad politics.

By "everybody" he's probably not thinking beyond the Beltway establishment. As stated above, the problem isn't with the system, it's with political corruption: politicians like Obama are simply too corrupt to enforce our laws.

Into this breach, states like Arizona have decided to take matters into their own hands. Given the levels of frustration across the country, this is understandable. But it is also ill conceived. And it’s not just that the law Arizona passed is divisive -– although it has fanned the flames of an already contentious debate. Laws like Arizona’s put huge pressures on local law enforcement to enforce rules that ultimately are unenforceable. It puts pressure on already hard-strapped state and local budgets. It makes it difficult for people here illegally to report crimes -– driving a wedge between communities and law enforcement, making our streets more dangerous and the jobs of our police officers more difficult... And you don’t have to take my word for this. You can speak to the police chiefs and others from law enforcement here today who will tell you the same thing... These laws also have the potential of violating the rights of innocent American citizens and legal residents, making them subject to possible stops or questioning because of what they look like or how they sound. And as other states and localities go their own ways, we face the prospect that different rules for immigration will apply in different parts of the country -– a patchwork of local immigration rules where we all know one clear national standard is needed.

1. Apparently Obama thinks determining legal status is "unenforceable". He should tell that to the Border Patrol and other agencies that have been successfully doing that for decades.

2. While the law might be used against those reporting crimes, the chances of that are slim; Obama isn't waiting to find out.

3. See Police chiefs who opposed Arizona immigration law in progressive PERF group; were any he referred to in that same group? How much of their opinions are based on politics?

4. All laws have "the potential of violating the rights of innocent American citizens and legal residents". Again, Obama isn't waiting to find out.

5. The Arizona law has tried to hew to federal law. To a good extent, the only "patchwork" that would exist would result from localities who decided to undercut federal law, such as sanctuary cities.

The above is only half of his speech; the rest will be covered later today.

For now, note that he's engaging in the deportations false choice and at the end of his speech he even engages in what we call the Lazarus fallacy: reading part of Emma Lazarus' poem that was tacked on to the Statue of Liberty years after it was built.

In the meantime, see , Obama immigration, Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security, and the list of topics we cover.

And, if you don't want amnesty, please do see Will teaparty and rightwing bloggers stumble us into amnesty?

Obama slams Arizona immigration law at press conference with Mexico's president - 05/19/10

Video of the first part of Barack Obama and Felipe Calderon of Mexico speaking earlier today at the White House is at and the second part is at

Millions unemployed, Harry Reid wants several million new legal workers to compete against Americans (fairly) - 05/11/10

Harry Reid offers "Our immigration system is broken, and only bipartisan work will fix it" (link). If you've already read a few editorials in support of comprehensive immigration reform, everything he says will be very familiar, right down to his use of trite talking points like system is broken, secure the border, immigration line, and the (more rare) immigration wage floor.

However, American workers - especially voters in Nevada - might want to take a closer look at this paragraph:

Fixing our broken immigration system is also important to strengthen America’s economy. We need to protect American workers. Workers in Nevada and across America are often squeezed by unscrupulous employers who exploit immigrant workers here illegally and use them to undercut American wages. Immigrant workers know that complaining about illegally low wages or harsh working conditions could lead to deportation. Once these workers get right with the law, they will no longer serve as a cheap labor force that competes unfairly with American workers.

In other words, he doesn't mind that those millions of newly-legalized workers compete with Americans, he just wants the competition to be "fair". He's not putting the interests of American workers first and working to enforce our immigration laws in order to minimize competition and raise wages.

Instead, Harry Reid wants millions of newly-legalized workers to compete with Americans on a level playing field. Note that those newly-legalized workers will be able to apply for any job that they're qualified for, and not just those that illegal aliens can get. This would increase competition for already-scarce jobs in many jobs classifications, but Harry Reid doesn't care: he wants the competition, he just wants it to be "fair".

Doug Hoffman might be weak on immigration; do his supporters know he might cost them money? - 10/28/09

[UPDATE BELOW, here are some questions for Hoffman, and here's an update based on his comments about this issue]

I'm not going to get into all of the issues surrounding the current race in upstate New York where conservative Doug Hoffman is battling against the establishment Republican candidate (Dede Scozzafava) and the Democrat (Bill Owens). However, Hoffman doesn't exactly appear to be Tom Tancredo when it comes to immigration issues, and this might be yet another example of the tea parties being useful idiots for someone whose actions will end up raising their taxes.

From his site (link):

Where do you stand on illegal immigration?
There is no question that our immigration policies are flawed. The answer, though, is not to put up a wall and stop all immigration. The answer is to create an easier path for immigrants to enter the United States - and to work here - while at the same time getting tough on illegal immigrants who commit crimes.

The first sentence of his answer is the standard (and false) system is broken line used by hacks from San Diego to Lake Champlain; see the link for more. The second sentence is a false choice: few people are calling to "stop all immigration", and even those who are only want a moratorium and not a permanent cessation. The final sentence is almost assuredly code for some sort of guest workers program and probably is code for something akin to "deport the criminals first (and then amnesty)". The supposed conservative insurgent sounds more than a bit like George W Bush and others who supported some form of amnesty and guest worker programs. Now, maybe he just got tired and used boilerplate instead of actually coming up with a non-establishment GOP position, and if so he should specify exactly what he supports. Or, those in the area should go to his public appearances and ask him to specify what he supports.

Also: Scozzafava doesn't appear to have her position on this issue on her site; the only thing I could find is [2].

UPDATE: Apparently some people don't understand this post, so let me try and reinforce the fact that Hoffman is sounding like all the others who support amnesty and the like.

For instance, when Hoffman says: "our immigration policies are flawed", that's similar to what Obama has said: "We have a broken immigration system. Nobody denies it." Many, many other people have used variants of those lines. In fact, the problem isn't so much with our laws, it's with the enforcement of those laws. The current laws might need a few tweaks here and there, but Hoffman would change our policy to suit certain interests (such as upstate New York farmers). As a side effect he apparently doesn't care about, he'd also help certain other interests (the National Council of La Raza, the League of United Latin American Citizens, MALDEF, and so on; the reader is urged to read those links). In order to placate corrupt business interests, he'd give even more power to groups that question whether our border with Mexico is valid or that have given an award to someone who proposed genocide against "gringos".

When Hoffman pretends that the debate is about stopping all immigration ("stop all immigration" in the quote above), he joins a nearly endless line of those who've attempted to mislead people by conflating the various types of immigration. There are literally too many examples to list; here's just one.

The last sentence of his quote might be tricky for those who don't follow this issue very closely. However, when he talks about "an easier path for immigrants to enter the United States - and to work here", he's talking about some form of guest workers program. Compare his statement to a Mexican consul proposing a "legal, orderly and humane flow of people". They aren't talking about temporary visitors and the like, since that system is to one degree or other working smoothly. What they're talking about is a guest worker program. Compare Hoffman's quote to this Bush quote:

I will work to ensure a system of safe and orderly migration. Earlier this year, I proposed a temporary worker program, not an amnesty program, that will offer legal status as temporary workers to undocumented men and women who were employed in the United States when I announced this proposal.

As for the final part of Hoffman's quote ("at the same time getting tough on illegal immigrants who commit crimes"), we're already to a fair extent doing that. When an illegal alien commits a crime (at least a violent crime), we don't release them to the care of the ACLU or something. They get put into the legal system just as a citizen would. Certainly, the ICE resources dedicated to apprehending fugitives could be greatly increased in order to get rid of the very large backlog, and the 287g program could be rescued from Janet Napolitano's attempts to weaken it, and we could go after illegal aliens and other non-citizens who commit non-violent crimes more than we do. However, that quote is mostly just filler and "boob bait for Bubba". You're getting a vague promise from Hoffman to do mostly what we're already doing in exchange for him getting the "path" he (and those upstate farmers) want.

Now that I look at this a second time, Hoffman is even more of a fake than I thought before.

Also, be sure and see the some questions for him here.

Immigration Policy Ctr: U.S. lost Olympic Games bid due to "anti-visitor policy", "broken immigration system" - 10/02/09

Today's "Tie Every Current Event to Your Agenda No Matter How Tenuously" award goes to the Immigration Policy Center, which blames the failure of the U.S. to bring the Olympics home to Chicago on our immigration policies (link). Per a press release:

"A litany of voices have been warning for years that the U.S. is slowly adopting an anti-visitor policy that is harming business, higher education and families... Stories in the press and report after report have all highlighted how our broken immigration system is hampering our nation's ability to attract the best and the brightest and stay competitive with other nations around the world."

1. There indeed has been some sort of tightening of visa requirements in order to reduce the possibility of terrorists jetting in, however, any idea that Obama wouldn't have made sure that as many people as possible could travel to Chicago is absurd.
2. The system is broken canard and the rest aren't usually used for issues relating to tourism but for actual immigrants (and illegal aliens); the IPC is repurposing it for their argument (such as it is) or just has it as a macro.

UPDATE: This story has also spread to other supporters of massive/illegal immigration, and it appears to have started at least in the MSM with Michelle Higgins of the New York Times with this oft-quoted passage (link):

Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago’s official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be "a rather harrowing experience."

The story has also been re-transmitted by Andrea Nill of ThinkProgress (

Obama puts off immigration "reform" until 2010 at SPP summit - 08/10/09

Barack Obama is continuing a proud George W Bush tradition: holding a "North American Leaders Summit" with the leaders of Mexico and Canada as part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership ( effort. In a Feb. 2008 editorial that apparently no one else read, Obama promised to continue that Bush effort.

And, in a move that his allies in far-left and racial power groups probably won't like (link):

President Obama said Monday that efforts to change the immigration system would be a major focus for his administration only next year, after other major priorities were accomplished, including passage of a new health care system.

It’s very important for us to sequence these big initiatives in a way where they don’t all just crash at the same time,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Michael Dukakis mindlessly spouts massive immigration talking points (Michael Bendetson) - 05/24/09

Remember Michael Dukakis? You know, former Massachusetts governor? The tank photo you see to the right? Ran for president in 1988? In case no one still remembers, raid a game of Trivial Pursuit, he's probably in there somewhere.

Obama will bring back amnesty this fall (immigration "reform"). What you can do about it. - 04/08/09

Julia Preston of the New York Times offers (link, with help from Jeff Zeleny) the not-incredibly-surprising news that Barack Obama will try to push comprehensive immigration reform (aka amnesty) this year. See the last link for the massive problems with that scheme.

The legislation might be introduced in the fall; in May Obama will speak about this and then during the summer they'll lobby the DC establishment to get behind the plan.

According to Cecilia Munoz - a former National Council of La Raza hack now with the administration - it will be framed as "policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system"; see safe legal orderly for others saying something similar. Preston also misleads about the immigration system being "widely acknowledged to be broken"; see system is broken for other examples of that being used. The answer to both of those stock talking points is the same: amnesty won't fix the problems, which boil down to politicians being too corrupt to simply enforce our current, highly-enforceable laws.

And, consider this incredibly lame talking point:

Administration officials said that Mr. Obama's plan would not add new workers to the American work force... ...there is no evidence of any wholesale exodus of illegal immigrant workers, independent studies of census data show...

By saying that, they're acknowledging that if they took away illegal workers they could help low-wage American workers. And, it's well within their grasp to take away illegal workers: simply enforce our current laws, ramping up immigration raids over time. Instead, look at what the supposed law enforcers have done: giving illegal aliens work permits and releasing them.

Obama's plan will increase competition for low-wage jobs by converting jobs that relied on an illegal and thereby compliant labor force into one that won't be so easily pushed around, and that increased competition will lead to a lowering of wages for some already low-wage jobs. The better solution isn't to keep those workers illegal, the better solution is to encourage them to return home and reduce the competition that low-skilled Americans face. Obama clearly has little concern for them, he's trying to sell them on his claim that they won't be hurt any more than they have been already. If Obama truly cared about low-skilled American workers, he'd enforce the laws we already have.

Roy Beck makes that point a bit more eloquently:

"It just doesn’t seem rational that any political leader would say, let’s give millions of foreign workers permanent access to U.S. jobs when we have millions of Americans looking for jobs... [the reaction is] going to be, 'You're letting them keep that job, when I could have that job.'"

And, that's how you can fight this: by making a point similar to that a public appearances by those that the White House sends out to push their plan. Get their response on video and upload it to video sharing sites. Even just one administration official who's really pressed on that issue - in the form of questions rather than rants - will send a very loud message that can be heard all the way back in DC.

As the issue moves forward, we'll be providing specific questions relating to the legislation, so subscribe to our feed to be updated. In the meantime, a basic action plan for forming local groups to ask tough questions is here. Our guide to coming up with tough questions is here. If you want to do something now, go ask about another amnesty that's current legislation, the DREAM Act.

UPDATE: Robert Gibbs throws a bit of cold water on the NYT's story here. Exactly what game if any is being played here and who's playing it is not clear.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand immigration stance: tough or just for show? - 01/23/09

The new Senator from New York is Kirsten Gillibrand, and it appears that she might be at least slightly strong on immigration matters. However, just how "flexible" she'll be remains to be seen.