July 31, 2008
The Laws Cops Can't Enforce
For at least the last two years, we have written often about state and local efforts to enforce the immigration laws and "crack down" on "illegal aliens." George Gascón, a former assistant chief in the Los Angeles Police Department, and current chief of the police department in Mesa, Arizona has a thoughtful op/ed in the N.Y. Times today:
Immigration issues are tearing apart communities. Demagoguery and misinformation are shaping public opinion and in some cases public policy. In the absence of a clear federal policy on immigration, states and cities are enacting draconian and constitutionally questionable laws.
This patchwork of conflicting local immigration laws is creating an untenable situation for police officials who face demands to crack down on immigrants — demands that contradict policing practices that have led to significant declines in crime.
For police officials, refusing to carry out policies that may violate the Constitution can be career-threatening. Both sides in the immigration debate accuse police departments of misconduct in dealing with immigrants. In this politically charged environment, some chiefs are making decisions based on bad politics instead of sound policing. In many cases, police officers are making illegal arrests with the acquiescence and sometimes explicit approval of their superiors.
Click the link above to read more.
July 31, 2008 | Permalink
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'But so is ensuring that otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants have the same protections as everyone else in a modern, free society.'
When people like Trasvina and Villaraigosa demand that should include protection from immigration law it perpetuates the 'wink and a nod' policy which everyone claims we need to get away from. They aren't referring to local law enforcement but federal (ICE). It's absurd to decry confusion and disorder in immigration policy and then turn around and essentially call for complete immigration anarchy.
There is a perception among some hardliners that if you are in violation of immigration law, you automatically lose possession of legal rights or never possessed them. That is, of course, incorrect. From the other side, the phrase 'otherwise law abiding' is too often an implicit demand that the violation of immigration law itself be overlooked. That is also not appropriate in a society ruled by law.
Posted by: Jack | Jul 31, 2008 6:36:59 PM