Friday, May 25, 2007

Hard to Say

David Walsh wrote an article a few years ago called, “Immigrant Crime: Who Wants to Know?” You can find it on if you look for it.

Walsh was lamenting the lack of data about immigrant crime. It seems that government agencies and departments were not keeping track of crime by illegal aliens.

I have first-hand information that the problem still exists today. In our community the police chief was confronted with the problem of illegal aliens. She shot back to a couple of middle aged ladies with, “Would you be able to prove your citizenship if stopped by the police?”

At the time I thought it was just a rhetorical question. I would hope that any officer in town would be able to correctly deduce immigration status in 90% of the encounters simply from experience and reason.

And I was assured that the police department uses the Homeland Security databases available through the Law Enforcement Support Center in Vermont. Our cops are smart and they have all the tools available, so they should rarely be stumped if they want to find out.

But then something strange happened. A woman crashed here minivan into a commuter train, killing her two sisters and infant nephew in the process. The newspapers reported that she had no license and no insurance.....and no one in the van spoke English. Even a casual observer would likely conclude that she was an illegal alien, right?

But eight days after the accident the State’s Attorney held a press conference about the case. The police chief was present. Here’s a quote from the reporter at the meeting: “Police have been unable to determine (driver’s name) legal status.” She goes on to quote the police chief who said, “We have been provided with no documents that prove legal residency.”

Three people are dead and a bunch of children in the van are hurting, and the police are unable to determine immigration status. Or perhaps, they are unwilling to mouth the words, “illegal alien”. This is the same police chief who adamantly refuses to have her officers trained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

I have been saying for a year now that we ought to at least keep track of the illegal aliens arrested so we know how big the problem is, even if we don’t deport them.

One bright spot is the Costa Mesa City Jail. They know who they have in custody. There is no, “We have been provided with no documents that prove legal residency” in Costa Mesa. Good for them!

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