There seems to be something about the problems of immigration that remove common sense from the politicians’ heads – and the general debate — about what to do about our broken system.
The past few days events in San Francisco when an illegal immigrant [not, not an “undocumented immigrant”], apparently drunk or on drugs, murdered an innocent bystander on one of that beautiful city’s most cherished walkways demand action. They have demonstrated a part of the problem that needs fixing and ought not be too hard to do if we still have a regime of law. The alleged killer had been deported out of the country five times after a series of drug related and other crimes. But he was back in the country and had taken refuge in San Francisco, apparently because he knew he would not be turned over to the federal immigration authorities because of that city’s policy of “sanctuary”.
It turns out most major cities have laws or by executive order forbid municipal employees and police to assist federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in efforts to investigate or arrest illegal immigrants. Many of those same cities permit illegals to secure an official municipal identification paper, enabling them to hold bank accounts, rent with leases or even buy real estate, or in most cases even have access to welfare and other city services. In many instances the courts have blocked state governments from moving in on their cities to end these practices after being heavily lobbied by interest groups.
These municipal policies were originally the work of churches and faith-based organizations and “progressive” forces on the left to aid hundreds of thousands of reputed victims of political repression, civil war and economic distress in Mexico and Central America. When the federal government enacted laws to make deportation of illegals easier in 1996, these humanitarians became even more active in defying federal law. We suspect, too, that there is more than just a little hypocrisy here; that it isn’t just the conscience of the believing community but employers including wealthier householders seeking domestic help that are at the root of flouting the law.
Add that to the grossly ineffective repeated efforts, by legislation and appropriation, to actually seal out southern border, and you end up with two of the three essential elements of our immigration muckup. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has, by throwing state resources including his national guard, into the vacuum shown that the hotspots on the border can be closed. Until that is done, all the talk about the third problem, the 12 [or is it 11?] million illegals in the country cannot be dealt with. [By the way, can someone please tell us how we know the number if we cannot identify them for deportation.]
But a beginning of some rationality in this situation is to call a halt to the whole concept of municipal “sanctuary”. If that takes additional federal legislation, we think a proper campaign by the Republicans in Congress could convince the public that it has to be done.