Ah, San Francisco:
A bill being drafted by a state legislator would limit local law enforcement from holding arrestees on behalf of immigration authorities seeking to deport them.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) said he is finalizing amendments to a bill that would be the first statewide measure to counter the Secure Communities enforcement program, which requires law enforcement agencies to forward to immigration authorities the fingerprints of all arrestees booked into local jails.
If those authorities identify a candidate for deportation, they can issue a detainer, which asks the agency to hold them beyond the time when they would normally be released so immigration agents can take custody. The program has come under fire because many of those ensnared have never been convicted of crimes or are low-level offenders.
When states like California or Arizona have tried to pass legislation that helps the federal government enforce federal immigration law, the immigrants’ rights advocates always tell us those law are illegal — because federal law is supreme in the area of immigration. So, local laws can’t touch on immigration (so the argument goes) because that steps on federal toes.
(I have never understood this argument, because helping the feds enforce the law can’t be seen as stepping on their toes . . . can it??)
Where is the “federal preemption” crowd here? This law explicitly seeks to interfere with federal programs designed to catch people in custody who have violated our immigration laws. Wouldn’t that . . . step on federal toes?
What needs to be remembered is that people who are subject to deportation have already violated the law. What’s more, if they have been arrested, they are on average more likely to be among the least desirable among those who have violated our immigration laws. A “Deport the Criminals First” policy uses our limited resources in the manner that best protects public safety, by concentrating on people who have (by and large) committed crimes other than violating immigration laws. Because criminals are more dangerous than non-criminals, this policy saves lives. And even if it turns out that they didn’t commit other crimes, they still violated immigration laws anyway, and we have them in custody.
Ammiano’s plan is an open borders plan: EVERYONE is welcome, including the diseased, the immoral, and the criminal. Our country is a country of immigrants, but we have the right to control which immigrants are allowed to enter, to keep the country healthy and safe. Orderly immigration laws seek to import immigrants who are not criminals or afflicted with communicable diseases. A policy of simply throwing open the borders removes these checks, which has the effect of welcoming people with TB and serious criminal histories. I don’t see why our country needs to be burdened with a crop of undesirables (criminals) when we have insufficient resources to take care of the people we already have.
The U.S. is fishing for illegals. We can’t catch every fish in the sea, but we can catch some. Ammiano wants to take the fish that are already in the net and throw them back out to sea. That only makes sense if you think fishing is morally wrong.
Me, I don’t think it is. And I don’t think deporting criminal illegals is wrong either.
But then, I don’t live in San Francisco.