We Have No Idea What We Are Doing

Its pretty clear from this summary of the Obama administration legal brief that the Administration has no idea what its own immigration policy should be.  I don't agree with all of the author's statements (for example, I am not a fan of e-Verify, as it just reinforces to me that the government has gotten itself in the business of licensing labor) but its a pretty interesting summary of just how muddled the Obama administration is on this topic.  While I don't support our newest immigration law here in AZ, its easier to see why states like AZ feel the need to take some independent leadership on the topic.

In this brief, the Obama administration is challenging an earlier AZ state law that requires, as a condition to retain one's business license, that companies use e-Verify to check new employees legal work status  (here and here).  Unfortunately, Obama's head of Homeland Security (and thus all immigration-related activities) actually signed the law into being and the administration wrote a brief in favor of the law just 9 months ago, about the same time Congress reauthorized e-Verify without doing anything to strike down AZ implementation practices).  I am not much of a legal scholar, but states use compliance with Federal programs all the time as minimum requirements for retaining business licenses -- e.g. non-payment of Federal taxes can cause one to lose his state business license, but no one has ever argued that is an illegal intrusion of states on federal powers.  If the Feds want to argue all of these provisions are unconstitutional, fine by me.  Anyway, the article linked above is highly entertaining.

Postscript: Here is the e-Verify post one must post in his business to be legally compliant:

This is fairly Orwellian for those of us who believe that all people have the right to work, irrespective of the country they were born in, and this right does not flow from any national government and therefore does not stop or start at any border.


  1. gadfly:

    Before the right to work comes must come permission to be here in these United States. The law simply says: You can't have one, without the other."

    Why is that hard to understand. It is entirely reasonable. Even "Big L" Libertarians should marvel at the simplicity, fairness and clarity of such a law.

    The Statue of Liberty inscription says in part: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" ... but the law does not.

  2. astonerii:

    They absolutely have the right to work and to provide a life for themselves and any dependents they may have. They do not have the right to do so within the boundaries of the United States of America, unless they are invited guest workers or Citizens. They have home countries, home towns, home farms and everything needed to do these things in their home countries. They just have never asserted their rights at risk to their lives, instead they just want to come here with no sacrifice and enjoy these rights and think they have no cost.

    All these rights come with a cost, a very large cost. Americans earned the freedoms we have through blood, sweat and tears. All the blood sweat and tears though is worthless without learning the history of the ages that our founding fathers spent decades to learn. The knowledge of the ages learned by our founding fathers and placed into execution through the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America has not one bit of compatibility with the idea of freedom that Coyote has inside his head. Coyote thinks that all humans are automatically granted the rights that other human beings have sacrificed for, that freedom does not require constant vigilance to ensure, that freedom comes with no costs. This mindset is more in line with Mao, Stalin and every other person who thinks that "from each according to his ability and to each according to their need". We have the ability to provide a free nation, so every other human being has the right to take that freedom and the fruits of that freedom from us. The amount of cognitive dissonance inside Coyotes mind must drive him insane. He believes so strongly in the freedom of action of every single person and their right to their own property, yet he has not one bit of care for the property rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United States of America. That as American citizens, we own the fruits of this country first and foremost and that when we let another person, from another country, come here to enjoy any of the fruits it is nothing more than charity which is something we must freely grant, not something those people have a right to take.

    Illegal aliens do not have the right to work in this country, any more than Coyote has any right to work in a national park, or to work for any other sovereign entity. He could be invited in to do this work, but he cannot arbitrarily decide that he has the right to the work and just go about doing it. He cannot walk onto some other person's farm and just start picking their crops. The people of this nation have an inheritance which was won through the the Declaration of Independence, The Revolutionary War, The creation of the Constitution of the United States of America, The Civil War, many other wars since fought in order to ensure that we remain a sovereign free country. We, as a nation, own the lands bound by the arbitrary lines drawn on a map that constitutes the United States of America, and we have appointed representatives in government to protect this land for our well being.

    Today on Memorial Day, it might be a good day to remember just exactly what our countrymen died for and far more importantly to remember what they died to ensure never happened. They fought for a way of life, and that way of life cannot remain if we simply declare that our borders have no meaning, that our inheritance is free to be taken by anyone who does not want to pay the price of admission. They did not die so that people in other countries can be free, they died so that we can be free. If in that process we gave some freedom to others around the world, it was in the interest in keeping the world safe for our people and our freedoms. We prevented Germany from becoming an overly powerful nation in WWI, not because we wanted the French free, but because we did not want the power of Germany increased to the point it would make the world unsafe for us. We did not fight in Korea and Vietnam because we cared so deeply for the people of those nations so much as that we felt an emboldened and empowered Russia would make the world unsafe for our freedoms to continue.

    Yes Coyote, these people have the same rights Americans do, they are given to humans by their creator, but they have not sacrificed in order to keep those rights. They barter their rights away every election cycle for a few pesos from a corrupted candidate for office in their hometown. Barter them away for a few pesos and a couple bags of food from a corrupted candidate for state office, or a few pesos and blocks of cheese from a corrupted candidate for federal office. Replace peso with what ever money their culture uses and this applies to any and all third world democracies. I have been involved in some elections in other countries, and trust me, these people do not have the slightest idea of what democracy should be and inviting unlimited numbers of them into our country before they fix their own countries is a recipe for the devaluing of our nation's culture. Have they stood up to their leaders and held them to account? Have they demanded a constitution and civil servants that will protect their rights? Have they been willing to die in order to secure a way of life in their home country such that they are not forced to leave in order to have a job? The answers are no, no and no.

  3. Cilla Mitchell, Galveston Texas:

    Astonerii: Thank you for writing a spectacular post. Spectacular is the only word that comes to mind. Yes, yes, yes, I am in total agreement with you. Thank you again.

  4. Gil:

    I agree with you again astonerii. However, does Coyote believe he can enter another country regardless of that governments view on immigration or if they've never had anything resembling a Libertarian tradition?

  5. tehag:

    A "right to work" means union membership (and, by extension, party or church membership) cannot be a condition of employment. It is a universal human right.

  6. mahtso:

    I am curious if the blogger believes my right to work allows me to start selling wares and renting boats within the campgrounds his company manages. I assume he has contracts that give him an exclusive right to do these things, but why should that limit my rights?

  7. me:

    @astonerii et alii:

    All very nice and heartfelt emotion, but missing the point: of course the prerequisite to working in the US is to be legally allowed to do so. Now, in a sensible society, you'd be able to hire anyone because your assumption would be that the government would make sure that the people who apply for work with you which are factually in the US are so legally and border security, customs and police are doing their jobs.

    In this case, the private employer is required to certify and enforce this law... which is where the problem comes in. Which other laws, for instance, should an employer make sure to not have been broken by his employees?

    Background: in the fair state of Arizona, it's illegal to hunt camels, cut down a cactus, refuse a person a glass of water, manufacture imitation cocaine or have more than two sex-toys in your house.

    There would probably be a long checklist and a high cost for PIs to enforce such checks for everyone you hire. Additionally, people with a less spirited approach to freedom than my American brethren might see such a vetting process as a slight invasion of privacy.

  8. James H:

    I'm not sure how infractions of the camel-hunting law etc affect employment eligibility? What about speeding, then? There is no requirement for employers to check anything that doesn't affect employment eligibility. The main issue is the accuracy of the e-verify database, but the employer is not responsible for that.

  9. astonerii:

    Re me:
    Employers are not responsible for a person's actions outside the confines of the workplace, the workplace being any place the employer pays that employee to be at any given time. While being paid for by an employer, that employee is the responsibility of the employer in very many ways. In this instance, the employer is responsible for making certain that the payroll taxes are being paid to the correct accounts, that the employee in their charge is in fact legally allowed to work and in the process they will find out if the employee happens to be a legal resident of the United States of America. Just for your information many people come to this country on non work related visas, thus, just being here is not enough to prove that you are in fact allowed to work. Also, unless you can show me otherwise, the laws preventing employers from hiring illegals puts no legal requirement for anyone doing the research to do any actual enforcement of the law, just simply not hire someone who does not provide adequate proof of a right to work. No calls need to be made to the police, no detention of suspect illegal aliens, no demands for ICE to come pick up the person in question. Just a basic check to see if someone is in the database that allows them to work.

    I do not think America places too many demands on the immigrants who we grant privilege to visit, to reside and to work in this country. We ask that they apply for the privilege, pay reasonable costs for processing, wait until we feel there is room for them in our culture, carry an identification card that indicates the duration and privileges granted, and that they provide accurate information in all of these steps. Does this sound like too much to ask in order for someone to enjoy the fruits of a country such as America which was built on the sacrifices that our forebearers endured in the creation of?

    Once again, I want to emphasize here, and I cannot emphasize it enough, every last human being on this planet have been granted the very same rights as Americans, the only difference is that Americans have already sacrificed in demanding those rights while forming this nation, rights which are endowed upon us from our creator. But just because the creator endowed us all with the same rights does not mean that everyone is able to enjoy those rights, those rights must be asserted and vigilantly defended. Anyone who is not an American who wants to live in a society like America may join forces with like minded patriots of their own countries and assert those rights, fight for those rights, be willing to die for those rights and when they succeed in gaining those rights, defend them vigilantly.

    I vigilantly defend the rights my forebearers handed down to me in many ways, and one way I see that is important today is to ensure that we prevent the wholesale destruction of the culture and society that makes America the envy of the world. Limited, regulated immigration with emphasis on integration and assimilation. I refuse to support any other kind. What the limits are depends on the quality of the immigrants, and I must say I am not impressed with the current group of La Raza Conquistadors who deformed this nation's culture to the point that I have to press 1 for English.

  10. Mark:

    Everything law is Orwellian if you don't believe it.

    I don't believe in laws against Murder, why do I have to put up this poster saying "Protect your right to life"

  11. Rick C:

    It would be nice if Warren would address some of the things that come up in comments. We know he favors unrestricted immigration (or if there are restrictions he's OK with, I haven't noticed mention of them) and the ability to pay people whatever he can negotiate with them. I'd like to know if there's any limits. If he's in favor of opening up immigration--does he think we should just abolish the limits? I wouldn't have too much of a problem with increasing legal immigration drastically--including work permit programs as opposed to residency immigration--but without such a change in the system it's inherently unfair for the current crop of illegals to not pay taxes: that's a nasty burden to place on businesses that follow the law.

    Does Warren have any respect for the law? It's one thing to advocate for the elimination of minimum wage laws. It's entirely another to advocate forcing an unfair business disadvantage on companies that try to follow current law.

  12. RickZ:

    "This is fairly Orwellian for those of us who believe that all people have the right to work, irrespective of the country they were born in, and this right does not flow from any national government and therefore does not stop or start at any border."

    Amazing idiocy, that. But I guess we all have our windmills to tilt at, and yours, among others, are Joe Arpaio and the mounting problems we face over the cost of illegal immigration/invasion. When it comes to things like legality and citizenship, why would you give away so cheaply that for which so many have paid so dear?

    It's hard to believe someone actually believes borders should not intrude upon one's "right" to work. The word "legal" doesn't seem to enter into your equation. Even in that utopian Star Trek, with its righteous-sounding Federation of Planets, there were borders that were enforced. Good fences make good neighbors, so let's build a fence on that southern border. Might make the other side a tad bit more polite than having their presidente come into our Congress and tell us what we should do with their citizens, how we should treat them.

  13. WHIPsmart:

    "When it comes to things like legality and citizenship, why would you give away so cheaply that for which so many have paid so dear?"

    You didn't pay jack for your citizenship, unless you are a naturalized citizen. If you were born here, it was free. Maybe cut down on the martyr syndrome a bit.

    I suspect Warren doesn't care about whether something is legal or not as a test for whether it is moral. Many things that are perfectly fine are illegal, which makes the law immoral, not the item.