Living in an Immigration Wonderland

By Dan Cadman on March 25, 2016

Sometimes when I see the things supposedly responsible members of the various branches of our government say or do, I don't just wonder if we live in the same country, I wonder if we share the same planet. Or have I been transported to an alternate dimension that shares a superficial physical likeness with my universe, but where the rules of logic and common sense are suspended? Here are two examples:

Hiring Illegal Aliens to Work as Congressional Interns. Arizona Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Ruben Gallego have drafted legislation that would permit illegal aliens to work as interns in both the House and Senate. I am not making this up. Granted, this is a specific subset of illegal aliens — those who were the happy recipients of the president's administrative amnesty under one of his "executive actions." According to a broadcast email sent out by Rep. Gallego's office, there are apparently 21 cosponsors of this magnificent bill.

The subset to which I refer is, of course, the group known as "Dreamers", although under the loosey-goosey rules established by the Obama administration, over half a million illegal aliens availed themselves of the benefits of indefinitely renewable "lawful presence" and work permits through the DACA program. The beneficiaries include a surprising number of criminals, gang-bangers, and assorted misfits who most assuredly don't fit the mental image that either the president or his party wish us to think of when we conceive of these hardworking young folks who were "brought here through no fault of their own." (See here and here.) It's worth noting that the executive action giving rise to the program is also the subject of ongoing litigation now before the Supreme Court, the result of a lawsuit filed by more than half of the states.

Reps. Gallego and Kirkpatrick's bill is ill-conceived and contributes mightily to the public perception that our legislators are clueless. One wonders: Do the president and his party understand the damage that they have done to the significantly smaller number of illegal aliens who should comprise the "Dreamers" group, and who may have a legitimate concern for their futures in this country? The problem is a simple one, and should be particularly self-evident given the obvious anger exhibited during this electoral season by large portions of the American public: Immigration rules have become so lax, the giveaways so profligate, and the official government policies and rules so scofflaw — often at the expense of public safety or national security — that no one trusts them to craft a small, realizable, and appropriate legislative relief for deserving youth. Everyone recognizes that it would be used as a loophole large enough to drive a tractor-trailer full of absurdist amnesty provisions through for all and sundry. And so nothing gets done.

Declaring that Identity Theft Is Not Moral Turpitude. The judicial wizards at the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — the circuit most often reversed by the Supreme Court — have outdone themselves. In a published opinion, they have reversed the Board of Immigration Appeals, which in turn had upheld orders of removal against aliens convicted of identity theft crimes under California law, holding that identity theft doesn't constitute the deportable offense of being a "crime of moral turpitude". For readers not steeped in the arcane mysteries of criminal or immigration law, moral turpitude is "conduct considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good morals"; or "an inherent quality of baseness, vileness, or depravity with respect to a person's duty to another or to society in general".

As observed in the opinion (which consolidated two separate but similar cases), one of the happy recipients of the court's largesse was a server at a restaurant who stole the information off patrons' credit cards and sold it to associates, although he denied knowing what use they would put it to (as if such a story merits belief). Although the level of depravity obviously isn't at the level of the Manson Family, I'm sure that the victims — whose bank accounts may have been emptied, credit ratings left in tatters, and financial records thrown into chaos — don't have any doubt that the conduct meets the standard for turpitude.

One can only assume that none of the sitting judges or their own families have ever been subjected to the indignity of having their identity and personal information stolen for misuse by thugs and criminal reprobates, and of having to prove a negative: that the charges that mysteriously start showing up on your credit or debit card accounts weren't actually incurred by you.

Such is life in these here United States today. We have apparently become a near-Utopian turpitude-less society, thanks to the wise intercession of judicial activists.