Talked Immigration, Arizona and "Anchor Babies" on Fox Today

Given the news that the Department of Justice has filed its suit against the new Arizona immigration laws, it was an interesting day to go on Fox News to talk about immigration. You can watch my segment, which included the well known anti-immigrant crusader Dan Stein from FAIR talking about changing the 14th Amendment and other fun matters, below and here.

In prepping for my segment I found this following passage from the FAIR website about "anchor babies:"

What Does This Mean?

Higher Taxes: The federal government has control over immigration law for the United States. By not correcting this mis-application of the 14th Amendment, the funds that state and local governments must provide to anchor babies amounts to a virtual tax on U.S. citizens to subsidize illegal aliens.

Disrespect for the rule of law: Congress, by failing to act on legislation aimed at correcting the interpretation of citizenship by birth, in effect rewards law-breakers and punishes those who have chosen to follow the rules and immigrate legally.The original intent of the 14th Amendment was clearly not to facilitate illegal aliens defying U.S. law and obtaining citizenship for their offspring, nor obtaining benefits at taxpayer expense. The United States is unusual in its offer to extend citizenship to anyone born on its soil. Other developed countries have changed their citizenship practice to eliminate the problems caused by the practice of birthright citizenship.[1] The anchor baby problem has grown to such large proportions that the United States can no longer afford to ignore it. The logical first step for correcting the problem is for Congress to adopt legislation clarifying the meaning of the 14th amendment.

(we've added the bold face here)

What struck me was how clear FAIR is in this passage that federal law trumps state law when it comes to immigration, and the proper course for those wanting a different immigration system in the US was to pressure Congress to act. This is of course is the same argument the President made last week in his American University immigration speech, and the same argument the Department of Justice made today in bringing suit against other FAIR-inspired laws in Arizona.

I hope those politicians in Arizona are aware of the real game FAIR is playing here. As we saw in the remarkable movie, 9500 Liberty, FAIR views political actors in the states as local chess pieces in a more national game of anti-immigration chess. As the movie details, the local community in Prince William County, VA who tried the FAIR-crafted "probable cause" statute (an ancestor to the current AZ law) saw their economy tank, racial polarization increase, forclosures skyrocket. The movie details how FAIR fed a group of ambitious conservative politicians a legal and political strategy which ended up backfiring on the local community, caused tremendous harm to the residents of the county, cost the local government a lot of money, and was ultimately reversed by the politicians themselves.

In Arizona we are starting to see the same thing play out. The economy and reputation of the state are being harmed. Racial discord is soaring. Local newspapers, police chiefs and businesses are fighting back against the law. And now the federal government is properly inserting itself into the debate, reminding those in Arizona that their law is, simply, illegal. Arizona cannot set its own immigration policy, just as it cannot craft its own foreign policy. Increasingly all this stuff around SB1070 may be, at the end of the day, a massively damaging escapade by a group of ambitious politicians in Arizona led astray in part by the Rasputin-like leaders of FAIR.

But what is so sad to me is that if the leaders of the Arizona effort had actually read FAIR's website they would have understood that even FAIR itself doesn't believe that the law the people of Arizona have passed is legal. Increasingly the nation and the people of Arizona will come see the passage of SB1070 and other legislation begin cooked up now (see the clip of my Fox debate today with FAIR about the legality of the 14th Amendment!) as another chapter in FAIR's grand and so far failed strategy to fundamentally change the immigration debate in America.

It is possible that a local court prevents a stay of SB1070, and it goes into effect on July 29th. But I think the die is cast here now. Eventually we will get a federal law and a new federal immigration system, and the sooner folks like Russell Pearce stop listening to FAIR's crazy and failed ideas and start working with Congress to construct this new law, the better off the nation and the people of Arizona will be. For as in Prince William County, my bet is that pretty soon the people of Arizona are going to want to find a way out of the mess created for them, and will begin to view this law much more negatively than in some of the early "sugar high" polls showing broad initial support.

Update - In the Fox News discussion today I read a portion of the 1st Section of the 14th Amendment. Here is the whole passage:

Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Update 2, More on FAIR - Our friends at 9500 Liberty just released one of the most compelling parts of their remarkable movie. It comes in the latter half of the movie, when all of a sudden our understanding of how the debate around "probable cause" - essentially the same law as SB1070 in Arizona - came to Prince William. It was brought there by FAIR, a national anti-immigrant advocacy group, whose President Dan Stein I debated today on Fox, and who is featured prominently in the video below.

Please watch the video below my friends, for what you learn is that FAIR views counties like Prince William and states like Arizona as "laboratories;" they admit to being the "mad scientists" behind the spread of these strategies across the country; and they admit, on camera, to colluding with Republican politicians to use this issue to help them win elections, a particularly odd goal for a 501 (c) issue advocacy organization.

Why does this matter so much? For I hope the good people of Arizona understand that they are being used as a laboratory by a national anti-immigrant group, a group who has shown very little concern for the communities who've been torn apart by their divisive strategies in the past.