Whose Side Is Michael Chertoff On?

"We’re going to continue to enforce the law. It’s going to be tough," Michael Chertoff said. "We don’t really have the ability to enforce the law with respect to illegal work in this country in a way that’s truly effective."

Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security sounded as if he had been defeated personally when the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the so-called “comprehensive immigration reform” bill late last month.  He went on to say that the Department of Homeland Security would “have” to enforce the laws even though it would “tear families apart” as a consequence.  Whose side are you on, Secretary Chertoff? Clearly not the American people’s side.

While the Right likes to bemoan the intellectual elites on the Left, we have our share of them.  They are the people like Senator Lindsay Graham, Senator Trent Lott and others who think the “average folks” don’t really understand the complex issues of this country.  Newt Gingrich has it right: you need to trust the American people, because they don’t trust the government anymore.  Secretary Chertoff needs to understand that the American people don’t trust the government to fix the immigration problem, so that trust needs to be earned by him and the rest of the people whose job it is to enforce the laws we have..

In Atlanta on Friday night — as if to throw gasoline on the funeral pyre of the President’s immigration initiative — Mexico’s Foreign Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, spoke at the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Mexican Consulate in Georgia.  She said, “These are hard times for immigrants in the United States…Millions of human beings are forced to live in the shadows, in the margins of society. Families are divided, migrants are abused, and almost 400 lives are lost each year in the attempt to reach this country under inhuman and dangerous conditions.”

Where is the discussion by a Mexican cabinet member about what the responsibilities of the Mexican government is to their own people?  Nowhere in Ms. Espinosa’s speech or in any other official speech on this matter by any Mexican government official.

So we have a member of the President’s cabinet lamenting how hard it is to enforce the immigration law and — worse — clearly reluctant to do so.  Then we have a member of the Mexican government commenting on what American policy should be using the term migrant.  

The term “migrant” is a big red flag for an open borders policy. Migrants move from one place to another within a country’s borders.  When the Okies moved to California during the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s, that was migration.  When Mexicans or any other foreign nationals cross a border for work or other purposes — that is immigration.  Words mean something, and when any official of either the Mexican or United States Government uses the term migrant to refer to illegal aliens, they do not believe in the sovereignty of our borders — or any other border for that matter.

I was hopeful when Judge Chertoff was appointed and confirmed to the position of Secretary of Homeland Security.  He has a tough law enforcement record and was well respected, but he mismanaged the Katrina response and he has mismanaged the response to the enforcement of our laws with regard to immigration.  Understandably, Chertoff serves at the pleasure of the president but he is also responsible for giving the president advice on what the policy should be.  If does not know how illegal immigration is upsetting the balance in the heartland, then he should.  

Michael Chertoff needs to talk to people outside the Beltway to find out how Americans feel about this issue.  They want the border secure, they want law enforcement to have the tools to do their job as it relates to immigration, they want employers to be able to verify documents for workers and they want to have a logical worker program that favors citizenship and requires sacrifice by those who would want to come to this country to work.  They want fairness for American citizens and the potential immigrants waiting in their home countries for visas; sometimes for years.  Finally, Americans want their opinions to be valued.  It means something to be an American; if nothing else, it means being entitled to have your government listen to you.