What do you call a leader who, acting through his sundry ministers and counselors, ignores parliament and creates programs out of will and whimsy if the legislature does not enact laws when-and-as he wishes? A leader who, not liking all laws equally, decides which to ignore and which to enforce, and under what circumstances he will do so? In any other country, we would call that man "despot". Here in the United States these days, we call him president.
A few days ago, the New York Times reported that Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder was going to provide $2 million in federal grant funds to aid groups in providing legal representation to aliens caught up in the recent southern border surge of women and minors.
Some media outlets described the grant as "extraordinary". It is extraordinary — and extraordinarily illegal. Section 292 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1362, states,
In any removal proceedings before an immigration judge and in any appeal proceedings before the Attorney General from any such removal proceedings, the person concerned shall have the privilege of being represented (at no expense to the Government) by such counsel, authorized to practice in such proceedings, as he shall choose. (Emphasis added.)
I don't know how "at no expense to the Government" (translate: "at no expense to the taxpayer") could be more clear.
Well, you may be thinking, this is for women and children, and so what's the big deal? Two million is chump change where the federal budget is concerned.
Holder, seeking to find the tuning fork needed to get public opinion to resonate with his decision, had this to say: "We're taking a historic step to strengthen our justice system and protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of society. How we treat those in need, particularly young people who must appear in immigration proceedings — many of whom are fleeing violence, persecution, abuse, or trafficking — goes to the core of who we are as a nation."
First, let's be clear that many of the new arrivals in the Rio Grande Valley are young men in their late teens and early twenties. In the United States, when you are 18 or older, you can vote, you can drive, and you can enlist and go to war.
Second, let's also be clear that the surge is mostly of the administration's making; their foolhardy policies of deferred action, prosecutorial discretion, etc., etc., ad infinitum, have made it clear that they see the country as a giant sanctuary. In fact, they are complicit in trafficking on a massive scale, making clear that they are willing to complete the transfer of smuggled aliens to their final destinations even after they are apprehended. Why should the taxpayers be asked to pay for that kind of insanity?
Third, there is such a deluge of human beings that $2 million will not go far toward representation in deportation proceedings. Even the advocacy groups recognize that. According to the Times, "[E]ven while applauding the new initiative, advocates pointed out that at best it would only touch a fraction of all the unaccompanied minors expected to appear in court in the coming months. Besides the tens of thousands of children under the age of 18 already in deportation proceedings, federal officials predict that at least 60,000 minors will try to cross into the United States without their parents this fiscal year."
Let us be forthright: Holder's opening bid of $2 million is a trial balloon that will shortly become a giant zeppelin unless taxpayer organizations or the like call a halt to it through filing of lawsuits, which brings me to my next point.
Guess who will likely get the grant money? The same alien advocacy groups that seem to have such deep pockets when filing lawsuits against the government to impede the orderly administration of the immigration laws.
Holder seems to be telling them, "Wait! Save your money to sue us! We'll help you out here." That would be consistent with this administration's almost visceral reaction when asked to enforce the law through removals, even when doing so is the right, the moral thing to do in order to put an end to stream of potential victims put into the hands of coyotes and cartels to be smuggled north.