Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Baby steps - federal style

President Bush signed an executive order on Friday but you probably didn’t hear anything about it.

Executive orders are funny things. For example, Chicago’s sanctuary city policy actually came about as a result of an executive order issued by Harold Washington after the feds requested that one of his high level staff members prove her legal presence or face deportation. (Duh! She was Puerto Rican!)

Daley continued to uphold Washington’s executive order for years. It was finally legitimized by the Chicago City Council last year.

Some executive orders are rather meaningless. Like declaring June 10th as Brad Pitt day or some such nonsense.

Executive orders are subject to challenge but are not the same as a law passed by Congress. But they can be powerful tools since the executive branch is supposed to obey executive orders.

So, this order signed by Bush last Friday requires companies doing business with the federal government to use E-Verify as a means to establish the immigration status of new hires. In other words, federal contractors cannot hire illegal aliens.

The executive order (#12989) is an interesting document. It is actually an amended version of a previously issued order.

But the interesting thing is the language involved. I’m not surprised since it came from Bush, but much of the wording is about the rationale for the order. He’s apologizing for issuing the order and tells us it is because the federal government needs “stable” contractors with “stable” employees and this is the way to accomplish it.

Heck, it seems to me that he could have simply said, “This is the law of the land and if you want our business you will obey it.”

I can’t imagine any politician hemming and hawing over something like an anti-discrimination clause or OSHA regulations.

We’ll take what we can get, but I’m still disappointed that our government treats this issue differently than all the other laws, as though obedience were optional.

To read the announcement from Homeland Security go here:

To read the White House information go here:

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