W.D. Reasoner's blog

A SAFE Ending

By W.D. Reasoner, August 12, 2013

This is my seventh and last blog on the SAFE ("Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement") Act, a bill pending in the House of Representatives as H.R. 2278. In prior blogs, I discussed in some detail the benefits of the SAFE Act and explained why it is vastly superior to the bill passed by the Senate several weeks ago. Read more...

Removing Criminal Aliens and Protecting Public SAFEty

By W.D. Reasoner, August 5, 2013

There are major differences between the immigration bill passed a few weeks ago in the Senate and the SAFE Act, the immigration bill pending in the House of Representatives, especially in the approach taken toward aliens who, in addition to being in the United States illegally, commit criminal offenses. Read more...

Visa Integrity and Security = A SAFE America

By W.D. Reasoner, July 31, 2013

Informed statisticians inside the government and out calculate that, at a minimum, about 40 percent of those living in our country without permission initially entered legally through land, sea and air ports of entry and then simply overstayed their periods of authorized admission, melting into the interior and working illegally, often by assuming the identities and using the critical data (such as Social Security numbers) of citizens and lawful residents. In other words, nearly half of the illegal-alien population consists of individuals who abused our visa and visa-waiver systems. The phenomenon has risen to a crisis level.

This is why I find it odd — anachronistic in the extreme — that the tipping point for the Senate, in its embarrassing rush to pass an immigration reform bill, any immigration reform bill no matter how flawed, was a last-minute amendment providing for a "surge" of Border Patrol agents on the southern land border. Read more...

SAFE and Sound Legislation: Restoring the Parameters of the Constitution

By W.D. Reasoner, July 28, 2013

In my last blog on the "Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act", an immigration bill pending in the House of Representatives as H.R.2278, I discussed the terrorism and national security provisions in Title II of the draft legislation. Read more...

The Mayorkas Controversy Redux
Cronyism, Policy Sleaze, and Indifference to the Nation's Security

By W.D. Reasoner, July 26, 2013
Cronyism, Policy Sleaze, and Indifference to the Nation's Security

In a blog on July 23, Center fellow David North wrote of the controversy surrounding Alejandro Mayorkas, presently the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and nominee to be number two in USCIS's mother department, Homeland Security (DHS). Read more...

Keeping the Homeland SAFE and Secure

By W.D. Reasoner, July 24, 2013

In prior blogs, I've been discussing the strengths of the "Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act", an immigration bill pending in the House of Representatives as H.R. 2278, including its commitment to legitimate interior enforcement as well as border initiatives, and the framework it establishes for improved federal-state-local cooperation where immigration law and policy are concerned. Read more...

A SAFE Bet
Establishing a Cooperative Model for Federal-State-Local Relations on Immigration

By W.D. Reasoner, July 22, 2013
Establishing a Cooperative Model for Federal-State-Local Relations on Immigration

The "Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act", an immigration bill pending in the House of Representatives as H.R. 2278, is a modern marvel of legislative honesty and symmetry: it means what it says, and says what it means. Read more...

The Australia-Papua New Guinea Refugee Resettlement Agreement
The Land of Oz Just Says "No" to Maritime Human Smuggling

By W.D. Reasoner, July 21, 2013
The Land of Oz Just Says "No" to Maritime Human Smuggling

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has just announced a unique agreement with the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in which boat people interdicted on the high seas headed for Australia to seek asylum will instead be shunted to processing camps in PNG. If determined to be legitimate refugees, they will be resettled there, instead of Australia. Read more...

Better SAFE than Sorry
House considers viable alternative to Senate's flawed immigration bill.

By W.D. Reasoner, July 17, 2013
House considers viable alternative to Senate's flawed immigration bill.

Note: This is the first of several blogs on the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act, an immigration bill pending in the House of Representatives as H.R.2278. This blog reflects on those aspects of the bill that encourage cooperation among and between the federal, state, and local governments where their interlocking responsibilities are concerned. Read more...

Immigration Implications of the Demise of DOMA

By W.D. Reasoner, July 9, 2013

On June 26th, the Supreme Court voided key portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Although most media outlets, such as the Los Angeles Times, focused on the changes to tax, inheritance, health, and Social Security laws and policies the ruling would bring about, it seemed evident to at least some observers that another consequence of the decision would be in the way federal immigration authorities confer benefits to homosexual foreign spouses of American citizens petitioning on their behalf. Previously, such petitions were denied. Read more...

Alien Minors in Adult Lockup: Who's Behind Bars and What's Behind the Numbers?

By W.D. Reasoner, June 7, 2013

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that "[m]ore than 1,300 minors — including several dozen 14 or younger — were held for days in immigration detention facilities for adults over a four-year period when the Obama administration ramped up deportations, according to a new report by an advocacy group [the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC)]." Read more...

"Dog Logic" and the Senate's Immigration Bill

By W.D. Reasoner, May 30, 2013

Two dogs share my home; they're wonderful companions for empty-nesters such as my wife and me. They have worked their way into our hearts in ways we didn't expect. Our grown children get a big charge out of that. They accuse use of having let the dogs become surrogate kids and suggest half-seriously that they won't be surprised when we begin calling the dogs by their names. Read more...

Ibragim Todashev, Asylum, and S.744

By W.D. Reasoner, May 27, 2013

Ibragim Todashev, a Russian national of Chechen origin and the Islamic religion, was killed last week after an interview with police and FBI turned violent and he allegedly attacked an FBI agent. According to reports, Todashev was being questioned about his part in a drug-related triple homicide in Massachusetts and had just admitted complicity. Read more...

Nothing Good Left Untouched: Senate Bill Puts National Security, Public Safety at Risk

By W.D. Reasoner, May 2, 2013

I've been closely reading the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill introduced into the Senate (the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act"). And I have to admit the more I read, the more I feel sullied. To say it is deeply flawed is a sad understatement, like describing a catastrophic category-5 hurricane as a "bad storm". Read more...

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Talking Point of the Week: "We Need to Know Who They Are"

By W.D. Reasoner, April 29, 2013

Both Republicans and Democrats alike seem to be rallying round the same talking point when referring to "comprehensive immigration reform" in the wake of the Boston bombings — something along the lines of "we need to press forward; we'll be better off knowing who all these people are."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), member of the Gang of Eight, has taken that line, as explained by Jon Feere in his April 26 blog for the Center. Read more...

DACA: Prosecutorial Discretion ... or Egregious Abuse of Discretion?

By W.D. Reasoner, April 26, 2013

As probably most readers of the Center's website know, a federal lawsuit was filed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in a challenge to the Obama administration's end run around Congress when it refused to move forward with DREAM Act legislation, and instituted instead an administrative deferred action program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or "DACA") under the guise of its Department of Homeland Security's "prosecutorial discretion" policies.

Many people (myself among them) believe that the program is both unconstitutional, because it infringes on the lawmaking prerogative unique to Congress under the separation of powers, and illegal, because it is not an act of prosecutorial discretion, but rather an abuse of discretion. Read more...

What Happened in Boston, Part 2: On the Matters of Immigration Screening, Naturalization, and Denaturalization

By W.D. Reasoner, April 25, 2013

Author's note: This is the second of two blogs on the subject of the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings. Read Part 1.


Two bombs serially exploded at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, wounding 280-plus people and killing another three. By the early morning hours of Friday, April 19, two brothers, in a panic that their photos had been released by police to the media as suspects of interest, went on a crime spree involving a carjacking, an ATM theft, and the murder of one police officer and serious wounding of a second. They were tracked and the older brother died in a shootout at the scene while the younger escaped, only to be found and arrested 20 hours later (Friday evening), wounded and hiding in a boat. Read more...

What Happened in Boston, Part 1: On the Nature of Terror, and Other Questions

By W.D. Reasoner, April 23, 2013

Author's note: This is the first of two blogs on the subject of the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings. Read Part 2.


When "Brief, Casual, and Innocent" Absences Just Aren't

By W.D. Reasoner, April 22, 2013

I've been contemplating the linguistic gymnastics that the Gang of Eight has used — not only to describe their massive, 800-plus page immigration bill as "stringent but fair", but also within the bill itself. They (the gymnastics) are a wonder to behold. Read more...

Question for the Gang of Eight: What Color Is the Sky on Your World?

By W.D. Reasoner, April 16, 2013

When observing the folks who make up our political class, I'm often of the opinion that, somehow, reality is always just slightly distorted around them — as if they are in another, alternate universe altogether and they only seem to share space and time with us, but not in any meaningful way. Read more...

Schadenfreude and the Brazilian Illegal Immigration Experience

By W.D. Reasoner, April 12, 2013

Dictionary.com defines the interesting German word schadenfreude as "satisfaction or pleasure at someone else's misfortune". Every language should have such a word, although I suspect many don't because few of us admit to such feelings — they're among life's guilty little pleasures. Read more...

The Migration Equation: Big Business+Big Agriculture+Big Labor+Big Religion=Big Immigration

By W.D. Reasoner, April 9, 2013

If, as they say, politics makes for strange bedfellows, then immigration politics in today's America makes for absolutely bizarre bedfellows.

Business and agriculture rarely have anything useful to say about unionization and the labor movement. Conversely, labor leaders routinely disparage employers, whether in business or agriculture, for their views on wages, benefits, and employee working conditions. And religious leaders frequently shun involvement in such earthly matters, preferring instead to focus on the moral health of their flock and the nation as a whole. Read more...

Enlarging the Pyramid: Why Our Family-Based Immigration System No Longer Serves the National Interest

By W.D. Reasoner, April 3, 2013

There is an interesting article by Jeffrey Toobin in the April 1, 2013, edition of The New Yorker magazine. Entitled "Wedding Bells", it is a legal analysis of the two gay rights cases on which the Supreme Court recently held oral argument, and which it will be deciding this term. Read more...

On Guest Workers, Slot Systems, and Servitude

By W.D. Reasoner, March 27, 2013

The media this past weekend have been abuzz with news that the so-called "Gang of Eight" — a bipartisan group of senators seeking a way forward on immigration reform — hit a divisive snag over the mechanisms for a guest worker program.

"Over the Hill Gang" would seem to be a more apropos moniker for these folks, given how out of touch both sides appear to be with the needs of ordinary Americans or employers, if the scenarios for the program they're trying to construct are any gauge at all. Read more...

The GOP Report: "Growth and Opportunity Plan", or Good Old Pandering?

By W.D. Reasoner, March 19, 2013

I've been looking at the Republican National Committee's "Growth and Opportunity Project", released with a certain amount of understatement a couple of days ago. It has been alternatively described as a look forward and as a post-mortem of why the Republicans lost the election. Read more...

"Minor" Unlicensed Traffic Offender Kills Brooklyn Family

By W.D. Reasoner, March 6, 2013

In a recent blog I complained of Syracuse University's TRAC analysis "that all too often the most serious Level 1 offenders have only been convicted of traffic violations." Objecting to this depiction and the mindset behind it, I said, "First, we should not assume that traffic offenses are always 'minor'. Vehicular manslaughter, negligent homicide, and driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics all strike me as serious offenses." Read more...

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

By W.D. Reasoner, March 4, 2013

Remember that child's game, "Button, button, who's got the button"? Kids form in a circle, and one child goes around with a button in hand, pretending to drop it into each child's hand in turn, but secretly only puts it into one. Everybody then guesses who has the button. Even the one who has the button guesses somebody else to deflect the truth. Eventually, though, the one who has it must 'fess up if pointed out, and becomes the next to distribute the button.

Well, we seem to have the farcical bureaucratic equivalent of the game going on and, as usual, it involves the ICE-house gang. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), as you know, is the agency within Homeland Security that, under Director John Morton's leadership has become the Keystone Kops of the federal set. Read more...

TRACking the Detainer Data at ICE

By W.D. Reasoner, February 28, 2013

It is probably obvious to anyone who has read any of my occasional blogs or other writings for the Center that I'm strongly pro-enforcement on the immigration issue. To me, it comes down to what I believe is in the best interest of American society, writ large, and fundamental fairness to all of those intending immigrants who sit patiently abroad waiting for their visa quota number to come up. Read more...

Through a Glass Darkly

By W.D. Reasoner, February 25, 2013

You know those eyeglasses you can buy — called Transitions lenses, I think — that are crystal clear as long as you're in a fairly shady place, but get progressively darker with increasing light until they're sunglasses in bright daylight? That's what I think of when I consider the Obama administration's track record on transparency, contrary to what is promised on the White House website: Read more...

Speaking Out of Both Sides of Your Mouth

By W.D. Reasoner, February 13, 2013

The February 9-10, 2013, weekend print edition of The Wall Street Journal contained an interesting article entitled, "Iranian-American Speaks for Both Sides". The article laid out the story of two naturalized American citizens originally from Iran: Amir Mohamed Estakri and his brother, Amir Ahmad Estakri. Read more...