Mickey Kaus tells how his old boss outlined the Firemen First principle -- whenever government faces budget cuts, it threatens to furlough the firemen (and cops and teachers) as a way of scaring the public and extorting higher taxes.
The Obama administration has been following this familiar path in the runup to the sequester, warning that an aircraft carrier will have to be withdrawn from the Persian Gulf, air traffic controllers will have to be laid off, and the Washington Monument will have to be shut down.
But in its zeal to terrorize the public, the administration has shot itself in the foot. Even before the sequester kicks in, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released hundreds of illegal aliens from their detention cells and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned that thousands of Border Patrol agents would be furloughed. (Should the release of the illegal aliens be called a "prequester"?) Though the White House said later that the releases of the illegal aliens were done by career officials (and the White House would never lie, of course), the damage has been done, and is profound.
This is because the key political obstacle to the Obama/Rubio/Schumer amnesty is the suspicion that the administration won't enforce the immigration law even after the amnesty, leading to a whole new batch of illegal aliens we'll have to amnesty 10 years down the road. A recent poll finds that even a majority of Democrats don't think the law would be enforced after an amnesty. As Sen. Jeff Sessions put it, "With this new action, the administration has further demonstrated that it has no commitment to enforcing the law and cannot be trusted to deliver on any future promises of enforcement."
The past four years provide abundant evidence that this administration considers enforcement of the people's immigration laws to be a distasteful chore, to be done only to the bare minimum needed to dupe the public into swallowing an amnesty. (With each deportation, I can imagine the political appointees at ICE thinking to themselves, "Lie back and think of amnesty.")
Whatever your position on "comprehensive immigration reform", the full implementation of an enforcement system is a precondition to any further debate, including, at a bare minimum, universal E-Verify, full IRS and Social Security cooperation with ICE in identifying identity thieves, and entry and exit tracking for all foreign visitors to identify those overstaying their visas. These releases from detention demonstrate, for the umpteenth time, that providing amnesty up front guarantees that enforcement promises will be abandoned.