"Born in other countries, yet believing you could be happy in this, our laws acknowledge, as they should do, your right to join us in society, conforming to our established rules." — Thomas Jefferson, May 2, 1801
The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold an Arizona law imposing sanctions on employers who hire illegal workers has court watchers asking whether this is an indicator for future immigration rulings
Arizona’s more controversial law — which requires state law enforcement officers to determine whether arrested individuals are in the country illegally — is now in the lower federal courts. Civil rights groups, business interests and the Obama administration contend the state cannot enforce federal immigration laws.
Though Arizona officials seem oblivious to that fact, the World Court — formally the International Court of Justice — has suggested that U.S. law enforcement officials routinely ask people arrested whether they are U.S. citizens as a way to give effect to a treaty the U.S. has been violating.
The treaty — the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations — requires that foreign nationals who get arrested be notified of their right to contact consular officials from their home country.
This practice, however, does not generally take place in the U.S. One key reason is that state and local — not federal — law enforcement make an overwhelming number of arrests.
Only the states have a general police power. The police powers of the federal government are limited. But state and local officials rarely, if ever, think about international law.
In the Avena case, Mexico sued the U.S. in the World Court on behalf of Mexican nationals arrested in the U.S. by state law enforcement. The Mexicans were not informed of their rights to contact a Mexican consulate. The World Court agreed with Mexico, ruling that Washington was in violation of the treaty and had to do more “by means of its own choosing” to comply.
The judgment was cited by Mexican defendants in U.S. jails — including Jose Ernesto Medellin, who was in prison in Texas. Then-President George W. Bush issued an order to Texas courts, directing them to comply with the Avena ruling. In the Medellin case, however, the Supreme Court held that “while the ICJ’s judgment in Avena creates an international law obligation on the part of the United States, it does not, of its own force, constitute binding federal law that pre-empts state restrictions” on criminal procedure.
It also ruled that Bush could not enforce the international law obligation against the states. Without federal legislation, compliance with international law was left to the states.
By a 6-3 decision the Supreme Court ruled:
“Neither Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mex. v. U.S.), 2004 I. C. J. 12 (Judgment of Mar. 31) nor the President's Memorandum to the Attorney General (Feb. 28, 2005) constitutes enforceable federal law that pre-empts state limitations on the filing of habeas corpus petitions.”
The majority held that the Avena judgment is not enforceable as domestic law. A treaty is not binding domestic law, it said, unless Congress has enacted statutes implementing it or the treaty itself conveys an intention that it is "self-executing." None of the relevant treaties—the Optional Protocol, the U.N. Charter, or the ICJ Statute—were self-executing, and no implementing legislation had been enacted, the Court found.
The Court also rejected Medellin’s claim that Article 94 of the U.N. Charter requires the United States to "undertake to comply" with the ICJ ruling. Chief Justice Roberts observed that Article 94(2) of the Charter provides for explicit enforcement for noncompliance by referral to the United Nations Security Council, and for appeals to be made only by the aggrieved state (not an individual such as Medellín). Even so, the United States clearly reserved the right to veto any Security Council resolutions. The majority also held that the ICJ statute contained in the U.N. Charter also forbade individuals from being parties to suits before the International Court. The ICJ statute is a pact between nations, Justice Roberts said, and only nations (not individuals) may seek its judgment.
In Avena, the U.S. explained that a number of states were complying with international law by asking people who were arrested whether they are U.S. citizens. The World Court stated this practice is a desirable way to implement U.S. treaty obligations:
“In view of the large numbers of foreign nationals living in the United States, these very circumstances suggest that it would be desirable for inquiry routinely to be made of the individual as to his nationality upon his detention, so that the obligations of the Vienna Convention may be complied with. The United States has informed the court that some of its law enforcement authorities routinely ask persons taken into detention whether they are United States citizens. Indeed, were each individual to be told at that time that, should he be a foreign national, he is entitled to ask for his consular post to be contacted, compliance with this requirement under Article 36, paragraph 1 (b), would be greatly enhanced.”
To Mexico and international civil rights organizations, the question is: Can a state only ask about U.S. citizenship to determine an arrestee’s nationality when the state’s motive is to benefit the foreign national?
If you read the Mexican Constitution you will find that illegal immigrants into Mexico have no rights whatsoever.
For example Article 27 states:
“Foreign citizens cannot own land within 100 km (160 miles) of the borders or 50 km (80 miles) of the sea; however, foreigners can have a beneficial interest in such land through a trust (fideicomiso), where the legal ownership of the land is held by a Mexican financial institution. The only precondition sine qua non to granting such a beneficial interest is that the foreigner agree that all matters relating to such land are the exclusive domain of Mexican courts and Mexican jurisdiction, and that in all issues pertaining to such land, the foreigner will conduct him or herself as a Mexican, and settle any issues arising from their interest in such land exclusively through Mexican courts and institutions. The stipulated consequence of a failure to abide by these terms is forfeiture to the nation of their interests in all lands where the foreigner has such beneficial interests.”
That's too bad, because Mexico, which annually deports more illegal aliens than the United States does, has much to teach us about how it handles the immigration issue. Under Mexican law, it is a felony to be an illegal alien in Mexico.
Rather than focusing on motives, the courts should resolve the constitutionality of the various Arizona laws by determining what each actually does — and whether those laws lie within the competence of the state.
So here we have the perfect dichotomy Arizona’s SB 1070 states a law enforcement officer may ask a person of his immigration status when stopped for a violation or suspected of a criminal act. (Presently this law has been enjoined by the Federal District Court and is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.) The liberals and immigration advocates have protested this law on the basis it is discriminative and represent racial profiling.
U.S. federal law requires aliens 14 years old or older who are in the country for longer than 30 days to register with the U.S. government and have registration documents in their possession at all times. The Act makes it a state misdemeanor crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents and obligates police to make an attempt, when practicable during a "lawful stop, detention or arrest", to determine a person's immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal alien. Any person arrested cannot be released without confirmation of the person's legal immigration status by the federal government pursuant to § 1373(c) of Title 8 of the United States Code. A first offense carries a fine of up to $100, plus court costs, and up to 20 days in jail; subsequent offenses can result in up to 30 days in jail (SB 1070 required a minimum fine of $500 for a first violation, and for a second violation a minimum $1,000 fine and a maximum jail sentence of 6 months). A person is "presumed to not be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States" if he or she presents any of the following four forms of identification: a valid Arizona driver license; a valid Arizona nonoperating identification license; a valid tribal enrollment card or other tribal identification; or any valid federal, state, or local government-issued identification, if the issuer requires proof of legal presence in the United States as a condition of issuance.
In addition, the Act makes it a crime for anyone, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, to hire or to be hired from a vehicle which "blocks or impedes the normal movement of traffic." Vehicles used in such manner are subject to mandatory immobilization or impoundment. Moreover, for a person in violation of a criminal law, it is an additional offense to transport an alien "in furtherance" of the alien's illegal presence in the U.S., to "conceal, harbor or shield" an alien, or to encourage or induce an alien to immigrate to the state, if the person "knows or recklessly disregards the fact" that the alien is in the U.S. illegally or that immigration would be illegal. Violation is a class 1 misdemeanor if fewer than ten illegal aliens are involved, and a class 6 felony if ten or more are involved. The offender is subject to a fine of at least $1,000 for each illegal alien involved. The transportation provision includes exceptions for child protective services workers, and ambulance attendants and emergency medical technicians.
On the other hand the same liberals and immigration advocates urge the U.S. to comply with international human rights law by determining the nationality of those who are detained or charged with criminal activities.
The libs can’t have it both ways. How can you determine the nationality or immigration status of a person suspected of a criminal act if you don’t ask them? Are law enforcement officer supposed to be mind-readers?
In 2008 the Congress entertained H.R. 2008, a bill to o create a civil action to provide judicial remedies to carry out certain treaty obligations of the United States under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
This bill never became law. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books. Members often reintroduce bills that did not come up for debate under a new number in the next session.
The United States has the most liberal immigration and alien rights law of any nation in the world. We are constantly under criticism from domestic and international immigration rights advocates to make our laws even more liberal, and in fact eliminate them all together.
A nation without a secure border and a common language ceases to become a sovereign nation. We will become a nation where people can come here to make money, have a higher standard of living with expressing any loyalty to the Republic at all. We are headed towards a polyglot Balkanization of the United States.
If Obama is reelected in 2012 he will no doubt push for “comprehensive immigration”, a law that will no doubt grant amnesty to the more than 20 million illegals presently residing within our borders.
According to Human Events; Mexico has a radical idea for a rational immigration policy that most Americans would love. However, Mexican officials haven’t been sharing that idea with us as they press for our Congress to adopt a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
At a time when the Supreme Court and many politicians seek to bring American law in line with foreign legal norms, it’s noteworthy that nobody has argued that the U.S. look at how Mexico deals with immigration and what it might teach us about how best to solve our illegal immigration problem. Mexico has a single, streamlined law that ensures that foreign visitors and immigrants are:
In the country legally;
- Have the means to sustain themselves economically;
- Not destined to be burdens on society;
- Of economic and social benefit to society;
- Of good character and have no criminal records; and
- Contributors to the general well-being of the nation.
The law also ensures that:
- Immigration authorities have a record of each foreign visitor;
- Foreign visitors do not violate their visa status;
- Foreign visitors are banned from interfering in the country’s internal politics;
- Foreign visitors who enter under false pretenses are imprisoned or deported;
- Foreign visitors violating the terms of their entry are imprisoned or deported;
- Those who aid in illegal immigration will be sent to prison.
Who could disagree with such a law? It makes perfect sense. The Mexican constitution strictly defines the rights of citizens -- and the denial of many fundamental rights to non-citizens, illegal and illegal. Under the constitution, the Ley General de Población, or General Law on Population, spells out specifically the country's immigration policy.
It is an interesting law — and one that should cause us all to ask, Why is our great southern neighbor pushing us to water down our own immigration laws and policies, when its own immigration restrictions are the toughest on the continent? If a felony is a crime punishable by more than one year in prison, then Mexican law makes it a felony to be an illegal alien in Mexico. There is only one possible answer — the money they send home.
According to U.S. Immigration Support:
“Many immigrants send remittances to their family left behind in their native countries. For some individuals, it is necessary to send money to relatives remaining in their home countries, in order to either help supplement their income, or to provide their only source of income. Immigrants who have recently arrived in the United States tend to send money home often, despite earning relatively low wages. However, the longer an immigrant resides in the United States, the more money they tend to send to family back home. For example, recent immigrants tend to send $200 or $300 home on a monthly basis. Individuals who have been in the United States longer and are better off financially tend to send money less often but in larger amounts. It is estimated that worldwide remittances amount to more than $126 billion. Remittances have become a considerable force in the economy of many countries. Among the countries that receive the most in remittances are Mexico, the Philippines and India. Last year Mexico received more than $17 billion in remittances. The amount of remittances in Mexico exceeds the amount of foreign direct investment in the country. This is not surprising given that a significant portion of Hispanics in the United States are of Mexican descent. Other Latin American countries like El Salvador are popular destinations for remittances. In 2005 approximately $2.5 billion was sent to El Salvador. The amount represented more than 13% of El Salvador’s GDP, or gross domestic product. It is estimated that Latin Americans residing in the United States send $30 billion dollars to their native countries.”
If the United States adopted such statutes, Mexico no doubt would denounce it as a manifestation of American racism and bigotry along with a violation of international human rights.
I looked at the immigration provisions of the Mexican constitution. Now let's look at Mexico's main immigration law.
Mexico welcomes only foreigners who will be useful to Mexican society:
- Foreigners are admitted into Mexico "according to their possibilities of contributing to national progress." (Article 32)
- Immigration officials must "ensure" that "immigrants will be useful elements for the country and that they have the necessary funds for their sustenance" and for their dependents. (Article 34)
- Foreigners may be barred from the country if their presence upsets "the equilibrium of the national demographics," when foreigners are deemed detrimental to "economic or national interests," when they do not behave like good citizens in their own country, when they have broken Mexican laws, and when "they are not found to be physically or mentally healthy." (Article 37)
- The Secretary of Governance may "suspend or prohibit the admission of foreigners when he determines it to be in the national interest." (Article 38)
Mexican authorities must keep track of every single person in the country:
- Federal, local and municipal police must cooperate with federal immigration authorities upon request, i.e., to assist in the arrests of illegal immigrants. (Article 73)
- A National Population Registry keeps track of "every single individual who comprises the population of the country," and verifies each individual's identity. (Articles 85 and 86)
- A national Catalog of Foreigners tracks foreign tourists and immigrants (Article 87), and assigns each individual with a unique tracking number (Article 91).
Foreigners with fake papers, or who enter the country under false pretenses, may be imprisoned:
- Foreigners with fake immigration papers may be fined or imprisoned. (Article 116)
- Foreigners who sign government documents "with a signature that is false or different from that which he normally uses" are subject to fine and imprisonment. (Article 116)
Foreigners who fail to obey the rules will be fined, deported, and/or imprisoned as felons:
- Foreigners who fail to obey a deportation order are to be punished. (Article 117)
- Foreigners who are deported from Mexico and attempt to re-enter the country without authorization can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. (Article 118)
- Foreigners who violate the terms of their visa may be sentenced to up to six years in prison (Articles 119, 120 and 121). Foreigners who misrepresent the terms of their visa while in Mexico -- such as working without a permit — can also be imprisoned.
Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population says,
- "A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five thousand pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country illegally." (Article 123)
- Foreigners with legal immigration problems may be deported from Mexico instead of being imprisoned. (Article 125)
- Foreigners who "attempt against national sovereignty or security" will be deported. (Article 126)
Mexicans who help illegal aliens enter the country are themselves considered criminals under the law:
- A Mexican who marries a foreigner with the sole objective of helping the foreigner live in the country is subject to up to five years in prison. (Article 127)
- Shipping and airline companies that bring undocumented foreigners into Mexico will be fined. (Article 132)
All of the above runs contrary to what Mexican leaders are demanding of the United States. The stark contrast between Mexico's immigration practices versus its American immigration preachings is telling. It gives a clear picture of the Mexican government's agenda: to have a one-way immigration relationship with the United States.
The only way we can solve this problem is to take to following steps:
- Secure the borders and stop the flow of all illegal immigration. This ca be done by fence or military or any means needed.
- Once the border is secure and the number of illegal immigrants has dropped to zero we can take an inventory of all illegal or suspected illegals in he country. this can be done by law enforcement or by offering a voluntary registration program. The registration program should be neutral and not pose any threat of deportation or criminal prosecution.
- During the registration background checks will be made on all illegals to determine if they have a criminal record in their home country or the United States. This will not be perfect, but it will be the best we can do.
- Those who do not have a criminal recorded will be an alien registration card and be required to register each year at the local post office as my Hungarian grandparents were. They will be granted all rights of American citizens with the exception of being able to vote in any election, nation, state or local. they will, however be able to work and register for a social security card, pay FIAC and all national, state and local taxes. They will be allowed to attend public or private school, but will not qualify for in-state college tuition.
- All persons with criminal records or those not registering within one year will be imprisoned and deported.
- Those who have registered and have the alien registration card will be eligible for citizenship after legal immigrants have entered the process. In other words they will go to the back of the line. If it takes ten years or longer so be it. They will still be able to work and enjoy the rights offered under the Constitution
- The 14th Amendment will be clarified and no child born to an illegal immigrant deemed “under the jurisdiction of a foreign government” shall be granted citizenship. Those babies born to persons holding green cards will be deemed to be American citizens.
- Any person convicted of a felony while holding an alien registration or green card will be deported to their nation of origin.
For a simplified version of our illegal immigration problem watch the video shown below.