The Corner

Holder: Amnesty a ‘Matter of Civil Rights’

 

Attorney General Eric Holder, in a speech Wednesday before the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said this:

Creating a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country is essential. The way we treat our friends and neighbors who are undocumented–by creating a mechanism for them to earn citizenship and move out of the shadows — transcends the issue of immigration status. This is a matter of civil and human rights.

So, the chief law-enforcement officer of the United States of America asserts that receiving amnesty for breaking the nation’s laws is a civil right. This is at once astonishing and surreal: the rule of law in subordination to political imperative. What other violations of law are excusable as a civil right? If the rule of law is as malleable as Holder’s statement suggests, should Dzhokar Tsarnaev be amnestied for his violations? If not, where does Holder draw the line and why?

To equate amnesty for breaking the nation’s immigration laws with civil rights betrays an incoherent and ahistorical understanding of the civil-rights movement. Law-abiding black citizens of the United States were not seeking exemption from U.S. law; they were seeking the application of such laws in the same manner they were applied to whites. Perhaps the members of the Congressional Black Caucus will express outrage at Holder’s comparison — right after they get around to expressing outrage over the hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers displaced by massive illegal immigration.

Anyone who thinks the alleged border security and ”enforcement” mechanisms in the comprehensive-immigration-reform bill will be at all effective should re-read Holder’s statement and remember who will be doing the enforcing. 

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