The feeding fenzy that won’t happen **BUMPED**

Is it me, or is the political scene in our country getting stupider? In the last few days, I’ve read story after story where politics seems to be happening in an alternate reality where common sense and logic are entirely absent.

The most recent example is the plan in San Francisco to issue identity cards to illegal aliens, a plan apparently being contemplated in other major urban areas as well (such as New York). Of course, I find it disturbing that modern American civic “leaders” are cheerfully and publicly figuring out ways to aid and abet the violation of federal laws. However, I realized some time ago that, in our modern era, civil disobedience got turned upside down, with the martyrdom factor Thoreau envisioned entirely absent, and social lionization the norm instead.

What really bothers me with this most recent and blatant attack on federal law is the knowledge that the INS, which is about to receive as a huge gift a City’s work identifying all illegal aliens living within its borders, is not going to take advantage of that fact. I mean, logic would dictate that, if criminals line up to get a card saying “I am a criminal,” the policing agency tasked with apprehending those criminals would pick them off like sharks in a feeding frenzy. In our topsy turvy world, though, all that will happen is that San Francisco’s illegals will get themselves cards formally identifying them as federal law breakers, cards they’ll use to facilitate their ability to pick up taxpayer-funded welfare benefits, while our federal agents sit on the sidelines and watch.

UPDATE: Who knew? Giuliani says that getting illegals out of the country implicates civil, not criminal, federal jurisdiction. Because he’s a very experienced federal prosecutor, I’m going to assume he’s correct. That leads me to a couple of points. First, it doesn’t change the core issue in my post, which is that the City of San Francisco is still proposing to offer the Feds a gift of people lining up to identify themselves as criminals who can be subject to the civil process of deportation — and the Feds will still refuse that gift.

Second, I’m sure Giuliani’s going to be castigated as “soft on immigration” for stating this fact. If that’s the case, it’s just plain wrong. To recite legal consequences with accuracy is not to be “soft” on anything. It’s just being, well, accurate.

The other thing Giuliani is going to get heat for is for saying that he doesn’t believe the feds should be criminalizing illegal immigration, a position he makes on practical grounds:

Illegal immigration shouldn’t be a crime, either, Giuliani said: “No, it shouldn’t be because the government wouldn’t be able to prosecute it. We couldn’t prosecute 12 million people. We have only 2 million people in jail right now for all the crimes that are committed in the country, 2.5 million.”

As a practical matter, he’s correct, but it does sound as if he’s saying that, because deportation is hard to enforce, we shouldn’t bother. And simply to state, as he does, that “My solution is close the border to illegal immigration,” is only part of the answer. Of course we should close the border — but there is still the little matter of the millions of people here illegally. I don’t like the idea of saying that deportation is too much work, so we just shouldn’t bother. That smells of amnesty, and all amnesty does is remind everyone South of the Border that it’s always worth making the effort to come here because you might just be able to stick around for good.

Giuliani should also stop trying to justify and support New York’s amnesty policy which bars City employees from turning illegal immigrants over to the INS — making them complicit in their illegality:

The former New York mayor has been defending his city’s so-called sanctuary policy, which stopped city workers from reporting suspected illegal immigrants. The policy is intended to make illegal immigrants feel that they can report crimes, send their children to school or seek medical treatment without fear of being reported. It did require police to turn in illegal immigrants suspected of committing crimes.

If illegal immigrants are troubled by crimes, having problems getting their kids to school, and worried about getting medical treatment, perhaps those problems will make them reconsider their decision to be here illegally in the first place. And maybe, lacking incentives to stay, they’ll go home — a self-policing decision that will relieve the Feds of trying to engage in the civil tactic of deporting millions of immigrants in the first place.

I like Rudy, and he’s right to define properly the nature of the deportation process, but there is no defense for each City to create itself as a little amnesty haven, making a mockery of federal laws and turning the US into a honey pot for illegal conduct.

UPDATE II: And because I’m so not an immigration or crim law attorney, I’m grateful to Hot Air for more nuanced information about the civil vs. criminal jurisdiction issues associated with illegal immigrants. Again, it still doesn’t change my bottom line that, whether criminal or civil jurisdiction is involved, the Feds won’t even take self-identified illegal immigrants as a gift.


11 Responses

  1. Book,
    I agree with every point in your post. I’d like to add a few more thoughts for your readers to consider.

    Where does illegal immigration fall on the ‘breaking the law’ scale? Not as mild as speeding, not as serious as murder… where does it fall? Are the penalties appropriate for the seriousness of the crime?

    When an illegal immigrant commits a more serious crime and is caught, are the penalties equivalent to those for citizens? Should the penalties be worse?

    I knew someone once when we both younger who worked a crew of young guys and paid them under the table. He also worked under the table before that. (Under the table means cash payments without taxes nor any record). That’s clearly breaking the law as well, and is very similar to the manner in which illegals perform work.

    In a statistical sense: If you take 100 citizens, and two of them commit other crimes… then if you take 100 illegals, and two of them commit crimes, would you say that illegals are a crime problem, in that they’re committing other crimes that tear at our social fabric? Here I am speaking of illegals we’ve found to commit murders, rapes, etc. One problem with speaking statistically is that it’s impossible to get statistics on crimes by illegals. Do we know if they are more criminal than citizens, setting aside the initial crime of breaking the law to come here?

    In any case, I agree that enforcing current laws on illegal employment, against illegals and their hirers, would have a significant deterrent effect. Traffic cops out in force cause all speeders (including me) to slow it down. The effect vastly transcends merely those who are physically caught. Eliminating the social services for illegals – except for the bare humanitarian ones, such as emergency room service – would also help reduce this problem.

    I’ve made light above of the fact that illegals break the law merely by coming here. However, I am certain that there are any number of Mexicans and others who would never come here illegally, because morally and ethically, they cannot bring themselves to break the law. Therefore, the act itself of illegal immigration IS in fact a problem. The question is, given all the ways in which many of us violate the less-serious laws, how serious a indicator – for the tendency to commit future criminal activity – do the readers here think that the crossing of the border is?

  2. Let me say first I support Giuliani, though I am not in agreement with him on every issue. I think the first priority in dealing with the immigration problem is to enforce the border and existing immigration laws so that 12M illegals in the U.S. do not become 20 or 25M. As for those who are here already, I do not see the necessity or practicality of deporting or imprisoning 12M; I concur with Giuliani on that. Sure, some should be deported, some imprisoned or remanded back to prisons in their country of origin. Some will leave voluntarily. Some will remains illegal. I am not an advocate for blanket amnesty, but I’ve thought all along some form of amnesty is inevitable. Some illegals, who may have entered the country illegally or entered on a visa which has expired, have otherwise obeyed the law, learned the language, acculturated, and made productive lives for themselves here. Not being categorically anti immigrant or anti Hispanic, I do not see the point in expelling such people. In my book individual merit and effort trumps collective identity. I am now on the tail end of a federal career in civil enforcement, more years in the bureaucracy engaged in onerous tasks that I want to think about on a bright Saturday morning, and still believe you judge each case on its own merits.

  3. Oh, Book, and I followed your links to the article on Greatest Liberal Moments on The West Wing too. Reviewing those reminded me why I never watched that series. The West Wing is to liberal governance as The X-Files is to physics and biology.

  4. Z, I agree with Giuliani that the first thing to do is stop the inward flow of illegal immigrants. But he sounds so passive about the existing immigrants. Whether by deporting them, drying up their income, removing their welfare rewards, making it difficult (not easy) for them to live in Cities, whatever — but something needs to be done so that at least some of the 12 million here don’t get default amnesty. Because if there’s default amnesty, nothing will work to close the borders.

  5. Oh, I fully agree. A blanket or default amnesty is the worst idea. It would be a blatant signal for more to enter,that Americans are consumed by lassitude and care more about cheap labor and cheap votes than the laws, culture, borders and integrity of their country. Any form of amnesty, which should also entail some penalties and proof of current compliance, should be the last measure after enforcement is applied and applied diligently and even harshly.

  6. In the same article that Bookworm quotes, Giuliani also said, “”I was there when it [the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center] happened, and I’ve been there every year since then. If I didn’t, it would be extremely unusual. As a personal matter, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.” A man who “can’t live with himself,” if he isn’t in a certain place on a certain day of the year is not stable enough to be president. “Extremely unusual” is what the president must come to expect.

    Not only that, Rudy Giuliani ruled New York by force, not with his brain: Our nation deserves better, especially after. As you’d expect, I can’t stand the man, but despite that, I think he probably knows that illegal immigration isn’t criminal.

    And yes, Bookworm is right, an act of civil disobedience means (or ought to mean) that a person is willing to go to jail (and ultimately to die) to force the government to change what King called “bad (or immoral) laws.” The civil rights movement of the 60s was successful because many people did go to jail and some also died.

  7. oops

    Missing from paragraph two: “especially after” you know who.

  8. A man who “can’t live with himself,” if he isn’t in a certain place on a certain day of the year is not stable enough to be president.

    That would exclude pretty much the majority of veterans from previous wars that go to the graves of their friends at a certain regular time, or meeting together in memorial at a certain time each year.

    Stability in your use of the word, means being a machine. And machine cannot be President.

    Not only that, Rudy Giuliani ruled New York by force, not with his brain

    You hear that Book, a reason to believe that Rudy’s potential concerning illegal immigration crime and Democrat illegal immigrant voter fraud may be taken care of despite the early signs.

  9. I think Rudy is mostly right on resident illegals. Most will have citizen children, most are law abiding and a benefit to society. Close the borders first and then we can discuss putting resident aliens on a path to citizenship.

    As for ruling NYC by force, what’s wrong with that? Isn’t it better than the polite chaos that preceded him (Dinkins)? We’re not voing for Miss Congeniality here, folks.

  10. What’s wrong with ruling NYC by force? Well, you might hurt somebody’s feelings! Perhaps, in Helen’s world, it would have been better had Mayor Giuliani suggested the sleaze merchants and petty criminals mend their ways and offered an array of taxpayer-funded ameliorative social programs to remedy the ills of New York.

  11. […] have focused solely on immigrants as the recipients.  (I haven’t objected to that fact.  In an earlier post I did about Ammiano’s lame-brained proposal, I said I thought it was a wonderful thing for illegal aliens to storm government halls to identify […]

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