Is catching and deporting illegal aliens an inherently bad thing?
You’d think the answer is obvious: of course not. Yet, when you think about it, that is the question raised by two recent news articles.
First, there has been a verdict in the case of that Arizona rancher who held illegal aliens at gunpoint on his property. As I told you in detail here, his ranch has been vandalized by trespassing illegal aliens for years. He has turned over 10,000 over to ICE. Some of the illegals he detained sued him — and guess what? They won:
A federal jury found Tuesday that a southern Arizona rancher didn’t violate the civil rights of a group of illegal immigrants who said he detained them at gunpoint in 2004.
The eight-member civil jury also found Roger Barnett wasn’t liable on claims of battery and false imprisonment.
But the jury did find him liable on four claims of assault and four claims of infliction of emotional distress and ordered Barnett to pay $77,804 in damages — $60,000 of which were punitive.
Lord. This is where, five years ago, I would have engaged in a verbose tirade. Now, the tirades have been beaten out of me. This is too outrageous for words, and I have none adequate to the occasion.
Second, we have an interesting article on ICE fugitive alien raids forwarded by commenter “Hax Vobiscum.” The complaint, recently discussed on this blog, is that teams devoted to arresting fugitive aliens have been targeting illegals who aren’t fugitive aliens. As I told you in two posts (here and here) about an L.A. Times article on the issue, a recent report didn’t bear out the contention that the teams were actually targeting non-fugitive aliens. Rather, the report suggested that the teams were arresting increasing numbers of fugitive aliens (including those with criminal records) every year, together with even more non-fugitive aliens encountered during the raids.
But the new Washington Post article raises the first real evidence that teams may actually have been targeting illegal aliens who aren’t criminals. Read the whole article and watch the accompanying video, and you’ll see the evidence is far from conclusive. Some agents have one story, and others have a different story. The article centers on an incident that began when ICE agents rolled into a 7-11 parking lot and had illegals running up to offer day labor services — that much is corroborated by the video. Even the focus of the sob story — a fellow stopping for a coffee break while his son was being treated at a nearby hospital — refuses to say whether he is illegal, on the advice of his lawyers.
As regular readers know, I support targeting illegal aliens who have committed crimes other than entering the country illegally. Deporting those illegals should be our top priority. But if you’re an ICE agent and illegals come running up to your car to offer illegal day labor, I don’t think you’re obliged to ignore that. On the contrary, I think you’re obliged to act.
You could pick apart the specifics of the particular scenario and the videotape endlessly, but the bottom line is this: prioritizing the deportation of criminals should be ICE’s top priority. But there is nothing inherently wrong with deporting illegal aliens, regardless of whether they have committed crimes unrelated to their immigration status.
Let’s stop criticizing ICE for doing its job. But let’s continue encouraging ICE to prioritize deporting the criminals first.