Tribute to the Military

Friday, December 30, 2005

Illegal Immigration

Reposted with permission from Sonoran News, Cave Creek Arizona

‘Policing free society is complex’
Second in a series of articles on the Southwest Conference on Illegal Immigration, Border Security and Crime hosted by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Nov. 4 and 5.

By LINDA BENTLEY, Reporter for Sonoran News

SCOTTSDALE – Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever led off the second panel discussion: “The Effects of Illegal Immigration on Public Safety,” without mincing words.’”

Dever said, “A term I heard today disgusts me: ‘Unintended consequences.’” It was what John Fund said earlier to describe his two-hour wait to cross back into the United States from Mexico.

Referring to GAO (Government Accountability Office) reports and testimony before Congress about the “serious disruption of life” ranchers and property owners experience along the border, Dever said, “Every day you have people using your backyard as a toilet.” According to Dever, Cochise County, which leads the nation in illegal immigration, spends an estimated 37 percent of its budget on illegal aliens.

Dever said, “Today, 22 to 24 percent of our resources are being spent on things associated with illegal aliens,” adding, “We can’t just say it’s a federal problem because we have to deal with it every day … I believe law enforcement needs to step up to the plate.” Frank Gaffney from the Center for Security Policy said, “… if one million are apprehended at the border, five or six times as many are getting across. Who are they?” Citing the increased number of OTMs (other than Mexican) apprehended at the border, Gaffney said many were from “countries of interest.” He said, “You’re seeing it play out now in the heart of Europe. Paris is burning because of lack of assimilation.” Suggesting the military augment enforcement and in parallel build a fence, to free up resources for interior enforcement, Gaffney said, “I agree with Mark Krikorian, this is imperative.” Gaffney believes in a combination of law enforcement, measures to ensure the visa program is not being abused, restoring the practice of protecting our ideology and secure documents.

Cal State East Bay Professor Glynn Custred said, “The magnitude of the influx of illegal immigration taking place today is something we’ve never seen,” citing “It was very different from the first great migration.” Custred said the direct consequence of having an endless supply of cheap labor was a deterioration of public safety and the sheer mass of criminal acts taking place.

He said, “It’s a sad state of affairs” when citizens who live and operate ranches at the border are afraid to go out unarmed.

By doing nothing to protect their domestic tranquility, Custred accused the government of actively encouraging drug and people smuggling across the border. “This is inexcusable,” said Gaffney, “We’re protecting the borders in Iraq. Why won’t we do it here?” Stressing the importance of the rule of law, Gaffney said, “Crime is not staying at the border, it’s dispersing all over the country,” and cited how the extremely violent MS13 gang, made up primarily of illegal aliens from El Salvador, has proliferated.

Gaffney said, “The government is reneging on its responsibility.

Let’s hope they finally get their act together.” Eleanor Eisenberg, former executive director of the Arizona American Civil Liberties Union, called immigration law enforcement by local law enforcement “racist,” and stated, “People come here for economic benefit.” She said, “Statistics and studies show crime across all segments of the public is going down, except perhaps here in Maricopa County.

But it’s just inconsistent to say crime has gone up due to illegal immigration.” Eisenberg claimed crime goes unreported by illegal aliens “for fear of consequences.” She then said, “Mr.
Thomas’ decision not to prosecute Patrick Haab remains a very controversial matter,” adding the “anti-immigrant agenda” was reminiscent of the incarceration and imprisonment of Japanese during World War II.

“We turned against those immigrants we imported to do the work,” said Eisenberg.

Claiming local law enforcement is not trained to enforce immigration law, she said, “Immigration law is very complex,” and it would be a distraction and reassignment of local law enforcement personnel.

Responding to a question fielded by syndicated radio talk show host Tom Liddy, who moderated the panel discussion, Custred stated the $300 billion it would cost to enforce immigration laws would result in a $400 billion savings, and said, “I think the federal government should stand up and do what they’re supposed to do.” Eisenberg claimed crossing the border illegally was simply a civil infraction.

Although Dever acknowledged immigration law enforcement is a federal responsibility, he said, “But local law enforcement is engaged.

Crossing the border is illegal – a misdemeanor,” although he said the government has taken the approach of administrative hearings.

Dever commented on a recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling, which held local law enforcement was not precluded from enforcing immigration laws if a misdemeanor is committed in their presence.

A question as to whether or not the toll-free number to report suspected illegal aliens to Immigration and Customs Enforcement should be expanded was directed to Gaffney, who said, “This isn’t about snitching; it’s about a very laudable means … a neighborhood watch. The public can be part of the solution.

“It’s not fear mongering, it’s responsibility.” The same question was asked of Eisenberg, who responded, “What is a suspicious person, in the mind of an untrained person, could be completely different from that of law enforcement.” Eisenberg then brought up the Chandler Police Department’s illegal alien roundup and called it “a disgrace when they took immigration law into their own hands,” and said it was based on skin color.

There was little support for a national ID card, although there was plenty of support for national standards.

Custred said standards for driver licenses should be tightened up with proof of citizenship.
Gaffney said, “It’s only common sense to have everyone use the same controls.

Issuing a driver license to someone without ID is irresponsible, especially in a time of war.
“We need to have, as a minimum, a standard that every state must meet.” Citing the 200 to 300 deaths each year of people crossing the border illegally, Liddy asked Dever if he thought providing food and shelter to humans in need was a criminal act.” Dever said providing aid to people in need was not a criminal act, although he said, “Some of these groups have used that as a veil to further the smuggling of humans.” Eisenberg said, “Some people think local law enforcement can enforce immigration laws during an invasion,” adding, “I don’t happen to agree that’s what we’re experiencing.” “Before there’s an infringement on the constitutional rights of anyone on American soil, we need to have a compelling need,” said Eisenberg.

Custred stated, “The commission in the late 80s said illegal immigration should not be tolerated.” He said identification documents should be secure and standardized and the laws on the books enforced.

Gaffney said, “We’ve got to confront the contempt of elected officials” for their refusal to enforce immigration laws.

“The problem in Paris today will be coming to a locality near you.” said Gaffney, faulting “elected officials who pay lip service.” Dever closed by saying, “Policing free society is complex.
We should choose the option that is least intrusive.

I don’t see sweeps. But in the normal course of doing business, we come across illegal aliens and extract them from the population. Many of those who cross the border illegally have criminal records.”

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