Bill Ososki: Poor leadership, dysfunctional government created the mess
The Department of Justice is suing the State of California.
The day after the announcement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared before a group of law enforcement officers in Sacramento and started his speech defending the lawsuit with, “California, we have a problem,” a cliche that means that California is the problem, but is it?
At issue are three recent bills passed and signed by the governor. One prevents local law enforcement from informing a federal agent when an immigrant will be released from prison. A second state law fines employers if they comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests to access the “non-public” areas of their business. The last requires the California Attorney General to review immigration holding facilities within the state.
No matter where you stand on this lawsuit or consider yourself to be politically, I think you will agree that it’s a sorry state of affairs when one state’s laws are so in conflict with federal laws that a lawsuit is necessary. What is the real problem?
You need look no further than the responses to the February Gallup Poll question, “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?” Immigration was the number two ranked issue cited by the respondents among more than 35 listed in the survey.
The number one item: Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership.
Poor leadership and dysfunctional government is why we have this mess. The two issues are intimately related. Poor leadership is the cause. Immigration problems are the result.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was created in 1952. The last time it was significantly updated by Congress was 1986. After 32 years it is time for an overhaul. The law does not reflect cultural attitudes in the country today, nor does it adequately deal with the current situation. This lawsuit against the state is but one result.
The situation is complex. There are more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. An under-class if you will, and to deport them would create a humanitarian crisis and a blow to the economy. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA or Dreamers as they are called) includes more than 700,000 young people who have been turned into a bargaining chip for political reasons. We elected our federal representatives, and we expect them to create laws that are the best possible solutions to challenges facing the country.
Our congressman, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, issued a strong statement in support of the lawsuit. He made no mention of the need to update the Immigration and Nationality Act. Perhaps we need to tell him what the real problem is, poor leadership, extreme partisanship, failure to compromise, gridlock, lack of term limits, inflexibility.
Rep. LaMalfa, blindly following the party line without considering the broader issue first is not leadership.
Bill Ososki lives in Grass Valley.
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