“A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” Ronald Reagan
So as I’m researching information on the immigration issue (another article to follow) I found something on the White House webpage that I thought was interesting and couldn’t wait to write about it. The White House hosted a “Fireside Hangout” to discuss immigration reform. Basically it is a roundtable of guests discussing the issues with Cecilia Munoz, the White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Moderating this chat was Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist and founder of Define American. In the video, Vargas immediately points out that he is “one of our country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.” (I’ll use their 11 million estimate for this article though I disagree on its accuracy)
Yes, an illegal alien hosting a video chat with a Director of Domestic Policy and that video is posted on the White House website. Vargas gained notoriety last year when he outted himself as an illegal alien in an article he wrote in New York Times Magazine. We will have to take Vargas at his word that he is still an illegal alien. As such, this poses several problems for the Obama administration.
Before delving into why his relationship with the White House should shock you, I think it’s important to understand Vargas’ story (as told by his NY Times article). Born in the Philippines, Vargas’ father had abandoned him and his mother when he was young. His mother’s parents had already emigrated to the U.S. and his mother desired a better life than she could provide. Unable to emigrate herself, she put 12-year-old Vargas on a plane to the U.S., in the company of a coyote (at the rate of $4,500) under a fake name and fake passport.
In his early years his relatives obtained fraudulent documents to allow him to remain in the U.S. At 16 Vargas went to DMV to get a license, only to be told his green card was a fake (not that the DMV employee did anything about it). From this point on, Vargas was old enough to comprehend his status as an illegal alien. In the article, he documents his fears as illegal immigration was a hot topic during his teens.
Early on, Vargas’ grandfather obtained for Vargas a Social Security Card based on a fake passport. That SSN was issued with the limitation that any work must be approved by INS. And since Vargas knew he was illegal and could not obtain INS authorization, what could he do? Oh, I know, begin a life as a forger. So the document was altered to remove the INS authorization clause. He even described how he and his grandfather forged the card (in case any other illegal aliens would like to do it themselves I’m guessing). As Vargas began working he admittedly falsified applications, misrepresented his citizenship on Federal forms, and provided forged documents. At least a few of those crimes we like to call felonies. And that makes Vargas a felon, regardless if he’s been prosecuted or not.
I can’t say that I’m particularly surprised that the Obama administration is cozy with a felon (not the first time). And I know the administration wants to see immigration reform, they’ve said that from the beginning. Reform is certainly a debate worth having, most people see that the process is broken and needs to be fixed. However, reforming laws means that laws currently exist and must be followed. Now, because Obama was just sworn in for his second term, I would hope that some things would be fresh in his mind. Namely, I hope he would remember his oath of office when he said, “…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”
That is a pretty important declaration and promise to the American people, don’t you think? So let’s look at what the Constitution says about a particular aspect of the duties of President. Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution says that the President “shall take care that all laws be faithfully executed.” Whether he agrees with the laws or not, he is bound by the Constitution to make sure those laws are enforced. Failure to do so is a breach of contract with the American people.
This relationship between Vargas and the Obama White House prompts me to wonder about the legal issues involved. Obviously in arraigning this video with Vargas some communication had to be established. And not every journalist gains such access to the White House, so they had to be familiar with Vargas and his bold claims of being an illegal alien. Why would the White House permit such a relationship with someone who admits to numerous felonies? Or did the White House declare Vargas immune from immigration laws? If so, by what authority? So let’s look at some laws the Obama administration is ignoring or perpetuating in their relationship with Vargas. All of them fall under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), each are enforceable under Title 8 and Title 18 of the United States Code.
8 USC 1325(a)(3) – Illegal entry under false information.
Vargas was too young and unaware of the conspiracy to illegally enter the country. However, this does not change the fact that he has enjoyed the benefits of the illegal activity. Once he learned of his status he began participating in furthering the crime, a crime which has been ongoing for 20 years.
8 USC 1182(a)(6)(A)(i) – Illegal alien ineligible for visa or admission.
Under this statute, if Vargas and the millions of other illegal aliens are living here without permission, they would not be able to apply for a visa or admission. But, Obama and others in Government wish to give a free pass, which the law simply does not allow. That is unless you subvert the law.
8 USC 1182(a)(6)(C)(ii)(I) and 18 USC 911– Misrepresenting/falsifying citizenship.
A person misrepresenting or falsifying their citizenship are not eligible for a visa or admission. Vargas clearly admits to violating this law in his article.
8 USC 1324c(a)(1) and 18 USC 1028(a) – Forged, counterfeit, alter documents.
Vargas openly admits that he forged his Social Security card to obtain work.
8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) –Encouraging an alien to reside in U.S. knowingly in violation of law.
Perhaps this would be a stretch of this statute, but by failing to deport and maintaining a relationship with Vargas, doesn’t that establish de facto encouragement to continue residing here illegally? I mean really, why should Vargas even apply at this point? Being illegal hasn’t even stopped him from having access to key administration officials.
8 USC 1324a(a)(1)(A) – Knowingly employ an unauthorized alien.
If Vargas was paid to moderate this event, then how does the White House get around this one? Even the Government isn’t immune to this law. Under this statute there is a requirement that an entity must make good faith efforts to verify a person’s status. How can they claim a good faith effort if the person openly claims to be an illegal alien?
These statutes don’t even include the numerous state laws violated to perpetuate Vargas’ continued residency. What sort of message does it send to law abiding citizens and people wanting to secure citizenship through legal means? The White House should portray the embodiment of American values. Our governmental system was established because our Founders did not wish to live under empirical rule. They shrugged off the chains of the former system so they and their progeny could live under a system based on fair rule of law.
Ours is a system by which the people are firmly in power over the government to whom they have entrusted governance. The Government is larger than the men and women to whom it is entrusted. And if those people fail to conduct themselves according to the Constitutional obligation and rule of law, it is the obligation of every American to correct the problem. Left unchecked, such governance leads to despotism, a system incongruent to our way of life.
“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to a separation.” Declaration of Independence, 1776.