In this digital age we have the benefit of looking back at Mitt Romney’s previous statements so we know exactly what he has said before. Apparently, when she wrote her blog “A President Romney will fix our immigration policy” Rosario Marin forgot to take a look at what Romney has been saying about immigration and what he might do if elected president.
While the issue of Immigration Policy was not addressed in the first Presidential debate, it is a topic that both progressives and conservatives know must soon be dealt with. Both campaigns are promising as much. Therefore, I would like to address some of the ideology that goes into conservative thought on this subject. Specifically, I would like to address the relationship between immigration policy and the concept of “personal responsibility.” The idea of accepting personal responsibility is central to the fundamental tenets of conservative political ideology. It is also fundamental to the tenets of immigration policy. More specifically, we have to look at the whole concept of comprehensive immigration reform through the “personal responsibility” lens. Please allow me to flesh out the specifics and reasoning behind this statement.
When we talk about comprehensive immigration reform, we are talking about border security, worksite security, visa security, visa allotment, and visa realignment. All of these issues are part and parcel of any discussion of reform. However, the most difficult aspect of reform, and the “elephant in the room,” in any reform discussion, centers on the question of the 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants, and how we should treat them through any reform.
Two weeks ago Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his report detailing many of the failures within the department and its operations related to Operation Fast and Furious. Immediately after, this administration and numerous media outlets kicked their spin machines into high gear in defense of Attorney General Eric Holder. Their number one mission: convince the American public that the search for answers is over and celebrate the exoneration of Attorney General Holder.
After 20 months, the inspector general concluded his investigation and published a report on the Department of Justice’s handling of “Operation Fast and Furious.” Inspector General Horowitz had a difficult job, and he did it well. While congressional oversight of “Fast and Furious” is by no means complete, the issuance of the inspector general’s report provides an appropriate opportunity for reflection.
There are at least three major takeaways from the Inspector General’s report:
Last week, after an 18-month investigation, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General (IG), Michael Horowitz, released his 471-page investigative report and findings on Operation Fast & Furious. While many in Washington lined up to claim victory and vindication, the details of the IG’s findings present a sobering assessment of a Department of Justice (DOJ) and Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that suffers from both failures in leadership and communication. It also underscored their unwillingness to work with Congress to discover the truth. The harsh reality of this negligence left a U.S. Border Patrol Agent and Michigan native, Brian Terry, dead and his family left wondering why it happened.
Since Operation Fast and Furious came to light, it is apparent that the Department of Justice (DOJ) could benefit from institutional change. All government bureaucracies have silos of authority and individuals that reject the thought of outside oversight. But, every agency also understands that the federal government is a glass house with millions of taxpayers gathered around the windows to evaluate our performance and second-guess every decision. The American people trust when they can verify and lose trust when accountability and oversight are delayed or deflected.
Last week the Inspector General of the Department of Justice released an exhaustive 471 page report on the Fast and Furious gunwalking operation. In preparing the report the inspector general reviewed more than 100,000 pages of documents and interviewed 130 witnesses.
In a Congress marked by unnecessary and counterproductive partisanship, the hearings held by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Fast and Furious stood out for the degree of partisanship and for the level of rhetoric attacking the executive branch of our government. In particular, Attorney General Holder has been unjustly singled out for attacks without any evidence or reason to believe he was responsible. As a result of the hyper-partisan tenor of the hearings they become fodder for an array of partisan blogs which sought to use them for a variety of inflammatory campaigns.
California Governor Jerry Brown must make a decision on the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools (TRUST) Act by September 30. Passed by the California State Assembly and Senate, this law would reduce California’s cooperation with Secure Communities, a federal program that uses fingerprints, taken upon arrest, to find and deport undocumented immigrants. The TRUST Act would prohibit state and local jails from holding immigrants for deportation unless a serious or violent felony was committed.
As we somberly reflect on the 11th anniversary of the attacks on New York City, the Pentagon and a flight of everyday American heroes who courageously gave their lives over Pennsylvania to protect the lives of others, we always remember the victims and their families. Our hearts will always be heavy as we remember those who were lost. Each year we also encourage the efforts of those who work to ensure this never happens again.
More than a decade later, most of us still remember 9/11 like it was yesterday: the initial confusion, the horrifying realization of what was happening, the watching, the waiting, the grief, the anger, the resolve.
And we remember how worried some people were about what the attacks would do to America. Would it weaken us in the world? Would it weaken us at home? Would we stand up? Would we shrink?
Well, 11 years later we can say with certainty and pride that 9/11 didn’t reveal the weakness of America. It revealed the greatness of America. We didn’t have to wait long to see it.