Prairie Fire

March 22, 2011

More disappointing news on the immigration enforcement front comes to us from the state of Kansas. The House Judiciary Committee there  has decided to defer action on a bill that would have empowered law enforcement officials to ascertain the legal status of those they’ve detained for other, non-immigration offenses.

Perhaps the worst part of this legislative defeat is the blow it deals to the expansion of e-Verify, one of the most effective deterrents to illegal aliens obtaining work fraudulently, and a program whose shortcomings continue to be eliminated by the day. This is a program that addresses the central, but ultimately specious, complaint made by the open borders left in order to oppose action on immigration enforcement, i.e. we shouldn’t be punishing poor, helpless, undocumented migrants; we should be going after employers! The only problem is that when steps are actually taken to prevent employers from exploiting illegal labor the same amnesty advocates oppose them even more stridently, for reasons explained in this brillant post by Mickey Kaus.

The good news is that while this is a short term defeat for our cause, it doesn’t mean that the long term battle for enforcement has been lost. In fact, in a certain sense we have actually made great progress in the fight for immigraition enforcement in terms of shifting public opinion in the state. There’s no greater illustration of this shift than the current governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback, who as an open borders Republican was forced to withdraw support for the DREAM Act during the lame duck session of Congress because of the intensity and depth of conservative opposition to that bill. More importantly, newly elected Secretary of State Kris Kobach, one of the chief architects of SB 1070, is in a position to influence other powerful officeholders in a positive, pro-enforcement direction.

Although I’m not an optimist by nature, I do think we should put this defeat-as well as other recent setbacks-into proper perspective.  I’m sure this is not the last we’ve heard of Chairman Lance Kinzer or his efforts to protect the citizens of Kansas from the burgeoning problems caused by illegal immigration.

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