Sunday, December 25, 2011

Immigration should be conditional upon assimilation

At Christmas, we hear once again about refugees---this time the family of Joseph, Mary, and the soon-to-be born Baby Jesus. It is a touching story-and timelessly evocative of so many millions of people who have had to flee for their lives from persecution.

The 20th century has been a time of the largest dislocation of people in history. World Wars I and II uprooted millions, all seeking sanctuary in the West. However, there was no rush of refugees to the Middle East or to the Communist world; on the contrary, walls and laws were built to keep those people from leaving.

Today, for the first time since the Dark Ages, Europe is facing the same torrent of refugees that the United States and Israel took in after World War II: refugees who fled from monstrous abuse elsewhere. It is wonderful to be given such refuge, but with it comes responsibilities that some do not accept, with terrible consequences for the hosts.

President Obama recently quoted from the “Square Deal” speech by President Theodore Roosevelt. But there was another speech that we should know. During the refugee flood to America that peaked at the turn of the 20th century, President Roosevelt spoke on immigrant responsibilities. He said:
"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.

But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

It is too bad that European countries did not have such guidance. In naive liberalism, Europe has admitted a flood of migrants without attempting to compel them to make the choice: assimilate to our 200-year-old modern civilization or go back to your homelands. Although the majority of Muslim refugees in Europe want to remain, they are being seduced by an international movement, Jihadi Islam, that insists that yielding to Western culture is an insult to Islam.

Catholic schools displaying crucifixes on the classroom walls are being sued by Muslims who feel “insulted,” and nursery schools are harangued for reading “The Three Little Pigs” to children.

Something is wrong with this. When publications that dare to be irreverent toward Islam (as they are to all establishments) are fire-bombed by irate Muslims, freedom of speech is under assault. Too many are now afraid to offend these Islamists. All Europeans (and Americans) should respond with indignation and arrests.

Many Americans are concerned over our flood of refugees from Mexico and Central America. All prior immigrants to this country: Germans, Irish, Jews, Italians, Chinese, and Japanese, were initially feared by those already here. However, they took Theodore Roosevelt's admonitions to heart. All, including the present ones from Mexico, want to become good Americans. Secular Muslims (such as Iranians who fled from the Ayatollah's nightmare theocracy) have also become good Americans. Decent Muslim families from Somalia who have gone to the FBI to report the pied pipers who are seducing their boys into becoming Jihadi terrorists, are good Americans-despite attacks from Islamists activists such as CAIR, calling them “turncoats.”

There should always be room at the inn for those who want to join us. The others should not be given this sanctuary. One does not let wolves come in to take over the house.


LAPD Turns a Blind Eye to Illegal Aliens without Driver’s Licenses

There was a time in California when the law affected the number of illegal aliens coming over the border. Today it is the number that affects the law.

Things in Los Angeles have reached the point that illegal aliens — people who by all rights ought not to be living here in the first place — are nonetheless able to exert sufficient influence on politicians that public policy is altered to suit their desires. Witness the debate taking place (if one can truly call it a debate; the conclusion is foregone) over the impounding of cars driven by unlicensed drivers.

California law authorizes police officers to impound cars found to be driven by unlicensed drivers. It further authorizes the storage of those cars for 30 days so as to discourage the unlicensed drivers from returning to the roads. Under direction from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck is weighing a policy change for his department that would require officers, who having stopped an unlicensed driver, to allow him time to summon a licensed driver to the scene and release the car to him. This proposed change in policy was discussed at a Dec. 13 meeting of the Los Angeles police commission, the five-member civilian panel that oversees the LAPD. That meeting, which can be viewed here, was remarkable for its near-total obfuscation of the impetus behind the proposed change, which is to make Los Angeles more hospitable to illegal aliens.

There was a time in California and indeed the entire country when the law affected the number of illegal aliens coming over the border. How quaint that notion seems now, for today it is the number that affects the law. There are approximately 600,000 illegal aliens living in the city of Los Angeles, or about 15 percent of the total population. For the time being, California law does not allow non-citizens to obtain driver’s licenses, but many illegal aliens choose to risk the consequences and drive anyway. When they are stopped for a driving infraction and found to be unlicensed, they are cited and their cars are impounded in accordance with the Vehicle Code, which draws no distinctions between U.S. citizens who for whatever reason fail to obtain driver’s licenses and illegal aliens who are prohibited from doing so. Advocates for illegal aliens claim that enforcement of the laws requiring driver’s licenses and the consequent impoundment of cars place an undue burden on otherwise law-abiding people.

The illegal alien lobby has no better friend than Mayor Villaraigosa, who earlier this year put the camel’s nose into the tent on the issue of impounding cars driven by unlicensed drivers. At the mayor’s urging, the LAPD instituted a policy that allowed a sober but unlicensed driver discovered at a sobriety checkpoint to call for a licensed driver to take charge of his car and thereby avoid having it impounded. The proposed new policy would extend this procedure to all traffic stops.

“It’s a fairness issue,” Chief Beck told the Los Angeles Times. “There is a vast difference between someone driving without a license because they cannot legally be issued one and someone driving after having their license revoked.”

Indeed there is, and those differences are already recognized in California law, specifically in the punishments prescribed for each offense. But in seeking “fairness,” or his idea of it, the chief ignores the specific language of state law as it pertains to the seizure of cars from unlicensed drivers. Section 14607.4(f) of the California Vehicle Code reads as follows:

It is necessary and appropriate to take additional steps to prevent unlicensed drivers from driving, including the civil forfeiture of vehicles used by unlicensed drivers. The state has a critical interest in enforcing its traffic laws and in keeping unlicensed drivers from illegally driving. Seizing the vehicles used by unlicensed drivers serves a significant governmental and public interest, namely the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of Californians from the harm of unlicensed drivers, who are involved in a disproportionate number of traffic incidents, and the avoidance of the associated destruction and damage to lives and property.

It’s worth noting that in 2008 the city of Los Angeles was one of several cities and counties named as defendants in a federal civil lawsuit that challenged the current impound policy. The U.S. District Court granted summary judgment to the defendants, a decision affirmed by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a court not widely known for being a friend to law enforcement. In so ruling, the Court stated, “This limited application [of the impound authority in the California Vehicle Code] accords with the California legislature’s determination that such a temporary forfeiture is warranted to protect Californians from the harm caused by unlicensed drivers — a determination we have no basis to reject.”

And yet now the LAPD’s chief, based on his own — and the mayor’s of course — sense of “fairness,” rejects this same determination.

So how “fair” will this new policy be to those who come to suffer for it? Just as I sat down to write this column I came across this story of a traffic accident in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. A 60-year-old woman, Patricia Ellen Riedy of Wildwood, Mo., was struck and killed by a car driven by an unlicensed driver, 36-year-old Martha Cruz. The story makes no mention of Ms. Cruz’s immigration status, though one might draw an inference based on her surname. But whether a citizen or not, she had no right to be behind the wheel of the car that killed the unfortunate Ms. Riedy, whose survivors might offer instruction to Chief Beck on what is “fair.”

The people of the state of California, through their elected representatives, have decided that people who drive while unlicensed, whatever the reason, should have their cars impounded. It is not for the mayor of Los Angeles or his chief of police to decide otherwise.


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