Two recent news stories in the Huffington Post underscore the futility, if not idiocy, of the Obama administration's attempts to find a "reasonable middle ground" toward the issue of immigration enforcement. If we were living in a different galaxy, or an alternative universe, there might be an argument that it made sense for the administration to try to bolster its enforcement credentials at the same time as it pushes for compehensive immigration reform.
There might also be an argument that, given that the possiblilty of actually deporting 11 million unauthorized immigrants is somewhere on the order of exceeding the speed of light, it would make sense to focus on the most dangerous criminal immigrants in deciding whom to deport, instead of the current "first come, first served" approach of grabbing and kicking out whomever happens to get caught.
(Actually, the chances of deporting 11 million people may be even less than those of exceeding the speed of light. There is a report about a recent experiment by scientists in Europe in which some type of particle may have been sent at a speed faster than the speed of light by a few billionths of a second.)
But even if it were possible to deport Latino and other non-white immigrants at the same speed that one can send subatomic particles, that would not be fast enough for some Republicans, for whom the idea that reason or reality could play any role in immigration is just as much anathema as the idea that the earth is round and revolves around the sun used to be for those in power not so long ago.
One of the Huffington Post articles describes an attempt by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio to revive the "birther" lunacy about President Obama. Arpiao wants to see the "microfiche" copy of Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate. Given that even Donald Trump and Rick Perry have given up on this particular form of insanity, what motive could Arpaio possibly have for going off this deep end?
There is a motive, of course. Many people have forgotten, or never realized, that Arizona's immigration law was mainly a personal reaction by Arpaio and his supporters in the Arizona legislature to the vote of no confidence that he had been handed by the Department of Homeland Security, when it revoked the federal authority he had previously given to round up unauthorized immigrants under infamous INA Section 287(g).
It is not surprising that Arpaio is still looking for a way to get even with the Obama administration for taking away his federal authority and then challenging Arizona's immigration law in court. But if one believes that locking up Latinos in desert tents is any kind of solution to America's immigration problems, one might just as well believe that President Obama was born in Kenya.
The other Huffington Post story reports that the Republican majority on the House Judiciary Committee has voted to subpoena the administration in order to investigate whether it has "released 300,000 dangerous criminals" as part of the stated policy of prioritizing which types of immigration violators will be targeted for deportation. This subpoena stategy is the brain child of Texas Republican Congressman Lamar Smith, who, as everyone knows, has been trying to close America's borders to Latino and Asian immigrants for the better part of the past two decades.
Will the Obama administration let itself be intimidated by these new moves by anti-immigrant bigots into backing away even further than it already has from whatever timid lip service it may have purported to give to immigrant rights in the recent ICE memo by John Morton? We may soon find out. But if were living in a more rational and less racist America, with a more courageous president, the Joe Arpaios and Lamar Smiths of this country would no doubt be looking around for a different planet, or universe, to relocate to - at the speed of light.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.