Is it me, or is the political scene in our country getting stupider? In the last few days, I’ve read story after story where politics seems to be happening in an alternate reality where common sense and logic are entirely absent.
The most recent example is the plan in San Francisco to issue identity cards to illegal aliens, a plan apparently being contemplated in other major urban areas as well (such as New York). Of course, I find it disturbing that modern American civic “leaders” are cheerfully and publicly figuring out ways to aid and abet the violation of federal laws. However, I realized some time ago that, in our modern era, civil disobedience got turned upside down, with the martyrdom factor Thoreau envisioned entirely absent, and social lionization the norm instead.
What really bothers me with this most recent and blatant attack on federal law is the knowledge that the INS, which is about to receive as a huge gift a City’s work identifying all illegal aliens living within its borders, is not going to take advantage of that fact. I mean, logic would dictate that, if criminals line up to get a card saying “I am a criminal,” the policing agency tasked with apprehending those criminals would pick them off like sharks in a feeding frenzy. In our topsy turvy world, though, all that will happen is that San Francisco’s illegals will get themselves cards formally identifying them as federal law breakers, cards they’ll use to facilitate their ability to pick up taxpayer-funded welfare benefits, while our federal agents sit on the sidelines and watch.
UPDATE: Who knew? Giuliani says that getting illegals out of the country implicates civil, not criminal, federal jurisdiction. Because he’s a very experienced federal prosecutor, I’m going to assume he’s correct. That leads me to a couple of points. First, it doesn’t change the core issue in my post, which is that the City of San Francisco is still proposing to offer the Feds a gift of people lining up to identify themselves as criminals who can be subject to the civil process of deportation — and the Feds will still refuse that gift.
Second, I’m sure Giuliani’s going to be castigated as “soft on immigration” for stating this fact. If that’s the case, it’s just plain wrong. To recite legal consequences with accuracy is not to be “soft” on anything. It’s just being, well, accurate.
The other thing Giuliani is going to get heat for is for saying that he doesn’t believe the feds should be criminalizing illegal immigration, a position he makes on practical grounds:
Illegal immigration shouldn’t be a crime, either, Giuliani said: “No, it shouldn’t be because the government wouldn’t be able to prosecute it. We couldn’t prosecute 12 million people. We have only 2 million people in jail right now for all the crimes that are committed in the country, 2.5 million.”
As a practical matter, he’s correct, but it does sound as if he’s saying that, because deportation is hard to enforce, we shouldn’t bother. And simply to state, as he does, that “My solution is close the border to illegal immigration,” is only part of the answer. Of course we should close the border — but there is still the little matter of the millions of people here illegally. I don’t like the idea of saying that deportation is too much work, so we just shouldn’t bother. That smells of amnesty, and all amnesty does is remind everyone South of the Border that it’s always worth making the effort to come here because you might just be able to stick around for good.
Giuliani should also stop trying to justify and support New York’s amnesty policy which bars City employees from turning illegal immigrants over to the INS — making them complicit in their illegality:
The former New York mayor has been defending his city’s so-called sanctuary policy, which stopped city workers from reporting suspected illegal immigrants. The policy is intended to make illegal immigrants feel that they can report crimes, send their children to school or seek medical treatment without fear of being reported. It did require police to turn in illegal immigrants suspected of committing crimes.
If illegal immigrants are troubled by crimes, having problems getting their kids to school, and worried about getting medical treatment, perhaps those problems will make them reconsider their decision to be here illegally in the first place. And maybe, lacking incentives to stay, they’ll go home — a self-policing decision that will relieve the Feds of trying to engage in the civil tactic of deporting millions of immigrants in the first place.
I like Rudy, and he’s right to define properly the nature of the deportation process, but there is no defense for each City to create itself as a little amnesty haven, making a mockery of federal laws and turning the US into a honey pot for illegal conduct.
UPDATE II: And because I’m so not an immigration or crim law attorney, I’m grateful to Hot Air for more nuanced information about the civil vs. criminal jurisdiction issues associated with illegal immigrants. Again, it still doesn’t change my bottom line that, whether criminal or civil jurisdiction is involved, the Feds won’t even take self-identified illegal immigrants as a gift.