California And The Moving Goalposts Of The Immigration Debate
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is finally taking action against the state of California by filing suit against California’s nullification of federal immigration laws. The rhetoric coming from California’s officials is extreme, with Governor Jerry Brown saying the action constitutes a state of “war”. [Jerry Brown: Trump ‘Going To War Against The State of California,’ by Joel Pollak, Breitbart, March 7, 2018] This does little to change the impression California is already operating as a post-American state, conquered by a foreign people, with actual Americans fleeing as de facto refugees. Yet it also shows the shifting goalposts of the immigration debate, as leftists are now arguing states have the right to determine their own immigration policy, when they were arguing the opposite just a few years ago in regards to Arizona’s SB 1070.
As many readers will recall, SB 1070, signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer, was an attempt by Arizona to enforce the immigration laws our federal government simply wouldn’t under President Barack Obama. The early years of Governor Brewer’s tenure were marked by desperate appeals to the federal government for help with border security, appeals which were contemptuously ignored. When Arizona finally did try to enforce immigration law, the result was Main Stream Media hysteria and the obscene spectacle of the federal government suing the state on the grounds only the federal government had the power to determine immigration policy.
Of course, as the federal government under President Obama obstinately refused to enforce the existing law, this meant the federal government’s position was that it was permissible for illegal aliens to break the law, but illegal for states to try to enforce it. As Peter Brimelow noted at the time, this raised the question of what good the American Union was at all. Nor was Arizona alone, as other states and localities tried to implement similar legislation, and faced the same arguments.
However, the positions suddenly switched when Donald Trump became president and Jeff Sessions became Attorney General. Suddenly, states such as California started declaring themselves part of the “resistance,” with the power to determine state-wide immigration policies.
Even some conservatives were culpable in this opportunism. For example, former Reagan Administration official Bruce Fein relentlessly lobbied against states and localities who tried to enforce immigration law, but then suddenly discovered the 10th Amendment and began championing states rights when restrictionists took over the federal government.
“Sanctuary cities” represent a similar phenomenon, as mayors are suddenly declaring themselves sovereign over immigration policy. Needless to say, this is a complete reversal of the position the MSM was repeating when it was warring against Arizona and SB 1070.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf recently took it to a new level when she warned illegal immigrants ICE agents would soon be arresting them, outraging many residents. Their anger is likely to grow with reports many of those illegals had prior convictions for offenses such as child sex crimes or weapons charges. [Illegal immigrants with sex, robbery convictions among those who evaded capture after Dem mayor’s warning, by Adam Shaw, Fox News, March 6, 2016] The mayor’s actions were not just an act of contempt against her own constituents, but a dereliction of duty. If government officials are simply allowing criminals to walk free, what’s the point of even having a government? Why do we have to pay taxes, maintain a huge army, or generally have to put up with the millions of bureaucrats and government officials who seemingly have time to interfere with every aspect of our lives but can’t fulfill their basic responsibilities?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s speech on Wednesday accurately defined the core issues at stake. And the Alabama senator made a comparison which will likely trigger the MSM like nothing else.
“There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is the supreme law of the land. I would invite any doubters to go to Gettysburg, to the tombstones of John C. Calhoun and Abraham Lincoln. This matter has been settled.”
[Sessions to California: ‘There is no secession,’ by Brett Samuels, The Hill, March 7, 2018]
Such rhetoric is not exaggerated considering how support for secession from the Union swelled in California following the election of President Trump.
Nancy Pelosi cast the federal government as an invading force, calling the Department of Justice’s lawsuit “brazen aggression and intimidation tactics” against “our immigrant communities”. [Nancy Pelosi Defends ‘Sanctuary State’ California Against Trump’s ‘Brazen Aggression,’ by Joel Pollak, Breitbart, March 7, 2018]This kind of rhetoric sounds like something you would have heard in 1850.
Ironically, Jerry Brown’s own response actually reinforces Sessions’s comparison. Just like the War Between The States was triggered by the unfortunate decision to import and defend a supply of cheap labor, Governor Brown suggested immigration laws should not be enforced because the state could not survive without its helots.
The Governor said:
“We have millions of people here who are here without papers and some of them have been working for 10, 15, 20 years. They’ve been servicing the economy. A lot of them have been doing the dirty work, whether it’s washing dishes or picking the fruit, and now the attorney general is basically initiating a reign of terror.”
[‘There is no secession,’ Sessions declares the day after suing California, by Anita Chabria, Stephen Magagnini, and Nashelly Chavez, Sacramento Bee, March 7, 2018]
Quite a progressive, defending the right of employers to use cheap labor for “dirty work.”
It’s also worth nothing Sessions specifically condemned the Oakland mayor for her actions. She responded predictably, calling him a “racist” [Oakland Mayor Hits Back At Jeff Sessions: ‘Racist’, by Joel Pollak, Breitbart, March 7, 2018].
Despite the virtue signaling, California is now one of the most economically divided states in the country. Homeless people are camping out openly on the streets. Poverty is endemic even in some of the state’s wealthiest cities. Even the cheap labor supply may soon be unneeded as automation gains acceptance. Hundreds of thousands of foreigners will then be not just unemployed but unemployable, a sure recipe for social chaos.
It’s worth remembering there was nothing inevitable about any of this. California was once a bulwark of conservatism, indeed, the birthplace of the conservative movement [O.C.’s pioneering role in the conservative movement, by John Seiler, Orange County Register, October 18, 2015]. California also voted to save itself by supporting Proposition 187, which would have prevented the state from being overrun by illegal immigrants. California Democrats were restrictionists as recently as the 1990’s, with Dianne Feinstein joining Peter Brimelow to chastise open borders “libertarians” in Reason magazine in 1996. Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who represented the southwestern state of Nevada, used to mock birthright citizenship and advocate its abolition. Yet because the courts overturned Proposition 187 and Governor Gray Davis refused to fight the decision, the Golden State was doomed and is now descending into the Third World [The Fall of California, by Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, March 5, 2018].
California is becoming part of Latin America in terms of its demographics, its economic model and its political culture of one party rule. The actions by Attorney General Jeff Sessions represent a mild attempt to reclaim the Golden State as part of the United States. And the changing nature of the Open Borders arguments, the opportunistic way they alternately claim federal control and states’ rights, show demographic conquest has always been the agenda for those who want to take our country away from us. Yet even if Sessions is successful, if immigration isn’t halted now, and illegals deported, the entire Southwest will be like California. And once that happens, the federal government will be run by someone far more like Jerry Brown than Donald Trump—and we will be the ones trying to break free of the federal government.