Issue of the Century

Immigration Insurance

December 23, 2015

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For example, the 2013 Rotherham report blew the lid off the long-running scandal in England of Muslim pimps organizing the gang rape of underage English girls. The only thing new about Rotherham, though, was that it was the first government entity to publish an official report on the subject. Therefore, after various immigration-related disasters, I often air out my dusty suggestion that America needs a National Immigration Safety and Quality Board modeled upon the National Transportation Safety Board that issues reports on the causes of air crashes.

Second, reporters like making use of lawsuits that generate depositions. This means that lawsuits are valuable in generating news. At present, there are almost never any lawsuits over immigration decisions, so there is very little coverage of the subject. It just doesn”€™t come up.

A subtle lesson of the current movie Spotlight about the huge gay-priest scandal in Boston is that much of what appeared to be the work of dogged reporters was actually prepackaged for them by plaintiffs”€™ attorneys. While the movie nominally celebrates the work of Boston Globe journalists, the plot makes clear that they were actually being led along by the lawyer played in the movie by Stanley Tucci. This shouldn”€™t be surprising: Officers of the court have powers that reporters don”€™t, most notably to put witnesses under oath and threaten them with prison if they commit perjury.

Lawyers prefer to sue deep pockets, which is one reason why immigration scandals so seldom get off the ground: There’s nobody worth suing. The immigrants are usually broke, and there’s no tradition in the U.S. of suing the government for bad immigration vetting. “€œWrongful immigration”€ could be a very useful legal concept, but it’s not one that exists at present.

For example, it appears likely that the Tsarnaev family of Boston bombing notoriety was in the United States because their Uncle Ruslan had once been the son-in-law of former CIA Kabul station chief Graham Fuller. Is that the kind of thing that victims”€™ families ought to be able to sue over? At present, that doesn”€™t seem to have occurred to anybody.

Likewise, three weeks after the San Bernardino massacre, there is no evidence yet that any of the victims”€™ families are going to be able to sue anybody for admitting Machine Gun Mom Tashfeen Malik into the country.

But in the future this kind of lawsuit might seem obvious to us, just as big lawsuits against archdioceses or cigarette companies weren”€™t much of a thing in the past, but now are.

A major roadblock to filing public lawsuits over tortious immigration decisions is the doctrine of federal sovereign immunity: You only get to sue the feds if the feds decide to let you. So that’s another reason for immigration insurance”€”suing insurance companies is an American pastime.

Immigration insurance may sound like a wacky idea at the moment, but it actually could appeal to multiple politically powerful interest groups, such as insurance companies looking for a new market and trial lawyers looking for new reasons to sue insurance companies. Giving the backbone of Democratic donors”€”the trial lawyers“€”a financial incentive to dig up and publicize dirt on immigration would be political jujitsu of the highest order.

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