Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Impunity through anonymity

I don’t know who coined the phrase, But Pres. Bush often refers to illegal aliens as living “in the shadows” of our society. One pictures foreigners lurking in alleyways, afraid to even walk on the street.

But I think that image is a distortion. Certainly, an illegal alien would suffer more anxiety when stopped by the police than your average citizen. After all, they are hiding a few past sins and exposure could spell trouble.

Yet I suppose that most of them realize that there is little real danger to them. Schools are safe. Hospitals are safe. Even the welfare office is safe.

I’ve proven that getting license plates for your car is no problem. You don’t need to show a Drivers License or even proof of insurance (despite what the law says).

Now, getting a Drivers License these days can be a problem, since they run a match on your Social Security Card. You’d better be the same person or you’re in trouble. Well, not really “in trouble”; the penalty is that they tell you the information doesn’t match so you won’t get a license. But they don’t arrest you and investigate the identity theft.

Most major immigrant enclaves have non-profit offices called “Centro de something or other” that assist the immigrant to get housing, work papers, food, medical care, jobs, transportation, translation of documents…all the things you need when you are new to our country. I have yet to find one that screens applicants. And they certainly aren’t in the business of turning in illegals. The vast majority of them are in favor of open borders and legalization.

The truth is that rarely does anyone challenge the presence of illegal aliens. I’ve talked about the lack of deterrence before. One generally has to commit the most serious of crimes before immigration status becomes an issue. The police don’t check, the courts don’t check, the newspapers don’t tell.

This Munley opinion (Hazleton ordinance ruling) makes it clear that only federal officials can be involved in “outing” an illegal. Any other effort to stand up to unlawful presence is against the law.

If Munley is to stand as the law of the land, a multitude of local agencies will need to be part of the 287(g) program. Local police, welfare offices, the DMV, Social Security, even the coroner will all need to be trained and deputized as immigration police. I really think there must be a way to stand up to blatant disregard (and disrespect) of the law.

“The curse of ages will rest upon you if ever you surrender to domestic lawlessness the precious liberties for which your fathers bled.” - John Mitchell Mason

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