On the Ninth Circuits Recent Inadvertent Decision on Immigration
I am and have been during my entire adult life an advocate for liberal, quasi-open immigration. I believe that despite our many national sins involving other countries, the spirit of Emma Lazarus’ poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty is what led to our being perceived as that shining city on the hill and the beacon of liberty, and what made us a great power. I have long believed that much illegal immigration is due to ineptitude or bad faith in the manner in which our national immigration and consular services process immigration applications leading to decade long delays but also more recently, that it is due to our destruction of other states or participation in the overthrow of their legitimately elected governments which has led to rivers of refugees, both political and economic. During the past six years, when I have lived in the Republic of Colombia heading a local university’s political science programs, women with whom I have been in relationships have been denied US visas to accompany me on visits to my alma mater, the Citadel, three times, without justification and without recourse. The US has never needed justification for denial of visas, nor explanations, and there are no appeal processes; perhaps until now.
As I read the Ninth Circuit ruling’s generous grant of US Constitutional due process rights to everyone on the planet, logic dictates that should change. I regret the fact that it has no real statutory support or support in relevant legal precedent, but if it reflects a real change, I welcome it. The logistics would be nightmarish for US consulates but justice would be served. I wonder how honestly this new philosophy on procedural due process rights will be applied and how long it will survive.
I also believe it was a hypocritical, political decision, both by the Court and by the state attorneys general involved, all of whom had remained utterly silent on the issue until the advent of President Trump. The executive order involved was in no manner qualitatively different than prior policy under the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations, although its tenor was certainly more honest, straightforward and unpleasant but reflecting the unpleasant and ugly reality.
Given how that advent has apparently and conveniently woken long dormant consciences on all kinds of themes that were just fine during prior administrations, Mr. Trump’s election may prove the best thing that has happened to the United States in terms of equity and justice in modern history. However, unless the dominant political classes in both major parties are rejected and replaced by decent statesmen, hypocrisy and political opportunism will remain our modern hallmarks.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved