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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
The Observer

A writer’s response

Several months ago, I had the privilege of meeting Lt. Colonel Allen West: a decorated war veteran, former U.S. Congressman and a proud, black conservative. In the course of our conversation, he shared with me that the worst racism he experienced came from his liberal political opponents, many of whom believed a black man could not be a Republican.

It reflects a deeply offensive and disturbing view of conservative minorities among liberals, one in which every female conservative is an ‘anti-feminist,’ every homosexual conservative is a ‘self-hater’ and every black conservative is an ‘Uncle Tom.’ It is a view in which half of Trump’s supporters, according to former Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, are “deplorable” and “irredeemable.”

Invoking labels, name-calling and insulting those who disagree with you is the last resort of the weak-minded, the uninformed and the insecure. As such, I was not particularly bothered when, in response to my last column, I was accused of “fear mongering,” “racism,” “bigotry” and, bizarrely, even “xenophobia.”

Setting aside these ghastly accusations, and overlooking the paradoxical notion of a xenophobic immigrant for a moment, I wanted to return to the subject I discussed in an article earlier this month: safe and lawful immigration.

In my Feb. 13 column, I criticized the Ninth Circuit’s refusal to list the temporary restraining order placed on President Trump’s earlier immigration order. America must remain the greatest beacon of hope and freedom on Earth, I wrote, but it cannot survive without an adequate means of protection from those who would seek to destroy it. The U.S. must continue to embrace legal immigrants and refugees, but it must also be able to distinguish between aspiring Americans and would-be terrorists.

We live in a sovereign nation with the means of facilitating safe and lawful migration; it is a nation of immigrants, but also a nation of laws, and these concepts are not mutually exclusive.

“All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country,” President Bill Clinton said in his 1995 State of the Union Address. “The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public services they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. That's why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens.”

In his speech Clinton reaffirmed the need to combat illegal migration across the southern border. I suspect that President Trump, and his supporters, would strongly agree with President Clinton on the issues of illegal hiring, welfare fraud and inadequate border security — issues that still plague this nation today.

“There are actions I have the legal authority to take, as President — the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican Presidents before me — that will help make our immigration system more fair and just,” President Barack Obama said in his 2014 immigration speech. “ … We’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over. … Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable — especially those who may be dangerous.”

Without engaging in a scholarly tirade about the constitutional powers of the President and the plenary power doctrine, it is important to note one thing. While Congress reserves the sole authority to change immigration statutes, the executive branch has great discretion in the administration of immigration law.

It can determine whether foreigners should be granted temporary protected status, whether a person is allowed to work in the U.S, whether a person can be issued a visa and for how long, and whether a person’s deportation should be deferred pending a trial. In the interests of national security, the President also has the authority to suspend the immigration of any class of foreign alien, as defined by 8.U.S.C. 1101 et seq., and section 301 of title 3, United States Code.

The Ninth Circuit’s decision represents yet another example of gross judicial overreach, and of unelected judges once again attempting to legislate from behind the bench. The White House is expected to announce another executive order next week — this one, the President is confident, will not be held up in the courts.

“We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws,” President Clinton once said. “It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

Mr. President, I wholeheartedly agree.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.