Asking US Rep Tom Emmer to support sound immigration policy

28 Feb 2017 – I delivered the following statement regarding constitutional, sensible, and just immigration policy to the office of my US Representative, Tom Emmer, last week.

Why I am asking Representative Tom Emmer to declare publicly that he does not support efforts on the Federal Government’s part to enlist local and state law enforcement as immigration agents.

A police department is expected to carry out its mission as a good steward of the limited resources and budget allocated to it. The primary services that I expect from the police are protection from crime and intervention to address or prevent crises, e.g., directing traffic after an accident or to prevent accidents. When I pay my city, state, and federal taxes, I am paying respectively for services approved by local, state, and national citizens at their respective levels; this is local representation within our federal system. The Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution [1] respects and enshrines that federal structure.

Indeed, the US Supreme Court has drawn a firm line on federal structure. Justice Antonin Scalia [2], writing for the majority in Printz v. United States (1997) wrote: “The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.” Therefore, it is my opinion and belief that the US Constitution protects us from having our local tax dollars (and the police services that we have procured with them) commandeered to support the federal program to regulate immigration.

[1] “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

[2] https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/95-1478.ZO.html

Why I am asking Representative Tom Emmer to declare publicly that he will oppose any bill that provides the funds needed to massively increase immigration enforcement staffing.

We have many expensive issues to address in this country; perhaps the most expensive is health care, but there are many others that are important, too, e.g., education, implementation of sound environmental policy, and our crumbling infrastructure. We would be taking away funds from these important issues and losing money if we were to divert funds to increased immigration enforcement.

Even undocumented immigrants pay taxes, and they spend money in our community, generating economic activity that creates jobs. Our government exists “to promote the general Welfare”, not to pursue whatever whim is currently in fashion. Notwithstanding the opinions held by a small minority of US voters, it is simply fiscally imprudent to focus our tax dollars on increased immigration enforcement.

Why I am asking Representative Tom Emmer to declare publicly that we need a path to citizenship for people who work hard and contribute to our communities.

It is we who have forced undocumented immigrants to migrate by supporting NAFTA, whose policies (together with those of the IMF, which we also influence) destroyed the Mexican agriculture market and doubled the poverty rate in Mexico. We benefit from the taxes that undocumented immigrants pay (including Medicare and Social Security, which they pay without hope of receiving anything in return). We benefit from the economic activity that undocumented immigrants generate when they spend money in our communities. Many jobs that undocumented immigrants do are those that US citizens think are beneath them; as a nation, we have been complicit with this arrangement.

It is unjust for us to treat undocumented immigrants as less than human, as mere garbage. They live and work here, and they will that the US be a republic with liberty and justice for all; so, there is no question of their loyalty. We should end the hypocrisy! We should establish naturalization processes that reflect reality as it is, not (as under the current, broken immigration policies) that reflect how we might prefer reality to be.