Hutchinson Misses the boat when it comes to state enforcement of immigration laws
Asa Hutchinson, of all people, should know that the Arkansas Attorney General has nothing to do with enforcement of illegal immigration. His attacks on Beebe on this issue are nothing but disingenuous, preposterous, and down-right wrong. I think everyone agrees the primary responsibility of enforcement of immigration laws is now U.S. Homeland Security. The argument is that “Beebe didn’t do enough to help federal officials.” As a campaign accusation, that dog won’t hunt. The Attorney General’s Office does not employ policemen. It does not run the State Police. To the best of my knowledge, no one at the AG’s office is a certified law enforcement official. They don’t have Attorney General squad cars. There is no Attorney General SWAT team. Similarly, with the limited exception of Medicaid fraud, the duties of the Attorney General’s office do not include criminal law enforcement. That is handled by the prosecuting attorneys’ throughout the state. Prosecuting attorneys do not work for the Attorney General – they are separately elected officials. A law, passed in part with the prodding of Jeremy Hutchinson, allows State Police to enter an agreement with the Dept. of Justice to arrest illegal aliens. Of course, there is no such agreement because (fortunately) our Republican governor did not see this as a priority.
(j)(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (f) of
this section, the Director of the Department of Arkansas
State Police may negotiate the terms of a memorandum of
understanding between the State of Arkansas and the
United States Department of Justice or the Department of
Homeland Security concerning the enforcement of federal
In an article written in 2005, it was reported that Arkansas only had 17 immigration officers assigned to enforce immigration laws. Why Asa Hutchinson didn’t assign more officers here is unknown. You would think he might pull a few strings to get things done back home – but in the end it was obvious he didn’t have many strings to pull.
Back to the issue at hand – who should Huckabee blame for the lack of state enforcement of federal immigration laws? In that same article, it was written that all Arkansas State Police Director Steve Dozier had to do was enter an agreement with Homeland Security.
Facing higher priorities, Dozier hasn’t started working on that. “Not even a meeting,” said state police spokesman Bill Sadler.
Who appointed Dozier – obviously the governor – not the Attorney General. I did a thorough search under the Arkansas State Police website to see when our Republican governor or Dozier has done anything on this issue in the past year. I found – nada – zilch – nil. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think that anything should have been done. As I find myself doing all too often, I see this as another example that Huckabee is in fact, a true compassionate conservative on this and many more issues. ( I’ll discuss this another time – although I don’t want to see him become president – we could do a lot worse if among Republican contenders ) Will we see Hutchinson dare speak one bad word about Huckabee – I think answer is clear – he is unwilling or too scared to do so. He knows that Huckabee is far more popular than he and he would look foolish to criticize his own party. So Hutchinson is stuck railing away at Beebe for doing what? Failing to employ his power as Attorney General to do what to illegal immigrants? His position is indefensible and weak, just like almost every one of his positions.
Of course Hutchinson was an utter failure as an administrator in D.C. In the 25 months Hutchinson was responsible for border security, the number of illegal immigrants in the country increased by more than a million based on data from the Pew Hispanic Center. Under Asa Hutchinson’s management, there was a 99.3 percent drop in the attempts to take action against employers for the hiring of illegal immigrants. Under Asa Hutchinson’s watch in 2004, immigration authorities issued penalty notices to only three companies. (The New York Times, 3/05/06) But in Fiscal Year 1999, the federal government attempted to take action against 417 employers for the hiring of illegal immigrants. [Government Accountability Office, “Weaknesses Hinder Employment Verification and Worksite Enforcement Efforts,” Report GAO-05-813, 08/31/05]
If Hutchinson thinks he is going to “federalize” the State Police – what does he expect them to do once they catch the illegal immigrants? Stick them in jail? Brilliant idea – lets give them free food, housing, medical care, and take up space we could use for real criminals. If all State and local police had authority to detain illegal immigrants – do you think any immigrants would call the police in domestic violence cases? Child abuse cases. I think not. Beebe is right on this issue, even if it leaves him open to cheap shots by desperate opponents.
I think one reason this issue bothers me is that blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and his imitators try to lump all “liberals” together as if all Democrats are liberal, and as if all liberals believe the exact same thing. Just like all Democrats don’t believe the same thing, neither do Republicans. To quote the Governor when asked about Jim Holt’s rabid hatred of foreigners, “He must drink a different kind of Jesus juice than I do.” ( he said some other interesting things about Hutchinson’s running mate as well)
I predict the hard-core Republicans will turn out in their normal numbers in November – but nothing in this race is inspiring the conservative swing voters to do anything but stay home or even vote for an obviously moderate slate of Democratic contenders.