R. Cort Kirkwood
In the latest act from the illegal-alien lobby, Los Angeles city council members have announced they want the city to stop full participation in the federal Secure Communities program, which matches the fingerprints of local arrestees against the database maintained by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. The purpose of Secure Communities is to identify illegal aliens so they can be deported after they serve sentences.
According to the Los Angeles Times, council members Bernard C. Parks and Jan Perry are behind the effort to undermine federal enforcement of immigration laws. Los Angeles has been a sanctuary city for 30 years, and now its political leaders are trying to hamper efforts to deport illegal alien criminals. The pair, along with the immigration lobby, is backing a bill that passed the assembly which limits the fingerprints state and local authorities can share to those of convicted felons.
Thirty years ago, the city adopted Special Order 40, which prohibits aw enforcement officials from contacting someone solely because those officials suspect him of being an illegal alien. The council members argue the federal program trespasses Special Order 40, the Times reports.
As well because illegal alien criminals who are not felons, but perhaps only "minor" offenders, get caught in the dragnet of the Secure Communities fingerprint program, the leftist leaders in Los Angeles want to short circuit it. According to the Times:
Secure Communities . has come under fire for leading to the deportation of those who were either arrested but not subsequently convicted of a crime or convicted of misdemeanors or infractions, such as a traffic violation. Of 38,828 people in California deported through Secure Communities between May 2009 and March of this year, about 12,000 were charged with or convicted of major violent offenses, while nearly 11,000 were classified as non-criminal deportees, according to ICE statistics.The Times reports that the resolution backs a recently passed assembly bill, sponsored by a crackpot leftist in San Francisco, "which requires that only fingerprints of convicted felons be run through the immigration database." The bill would cancel and renegotiate participation in the Secure Communities program. . The bill would also make counties' participation in the program voluntary.
Will Obama Sue? The move, as with most sanctuary policies, would appear to trespass the federal prerogative to enforce immigration laws, as the Obama Administration argued in its lawsuit against Arizona. Wtih the carefully crafted SB 1070, Arizona sought to intensify the enforcement of federal immigration law by permitting police to question the immigration status of anyone with whom they have otherwise lawful contact. The Obama Justice Department successfully argued in federal court that SB 1070 usurped federal authority over immigration. Arizona is appealing a decision from the radically leftist U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, that validated the Obama Administration's view that immigration is solely a federal prerogative.
The question is why the Administration has not sued any of the dozens of sanctuary cities, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, which openly defy federal programs meant to bring illegal immigration under control. The upshot of the proposal from the Los Angeles council members is that no illegal alien who is not an violent or potentially violent criminal is worthy of deportation.
Sanctuary cities such as Los Angeles typically suffer cosmically high violent crime rates because they refuse to help deport illegal aliens. As Heather Mac Donald reported in the Manhattan Institute's City Journal in 2004, sanctuary laws help perpetuate crime, particularly because they inhibit the deportation of illegals who commit "minor" crimes.
L.A.'s sanctuary law and all others like it contradict a key 1990s policing discovery: the Great Chain of Being in criminal behavior. Pick up a law-violator for a "minor" crime, and you might well prevent a major crime: enforcing graffiti and turnstile-jumping laws nabs you murderers and robbers. Enforcing known immigration violations, such as reentry following deportation, against known felons, would be even more productive.
LAPD officers recognize illegal deported gang members all the time-flashing gang signs at court hearings for rival gangbangers, hanging out on the corner, or casing a target. These illegal returnees are, simply by being in the country after deportation, committing a felony (in contrast to garden-variety illegals on their first trip to the U.S., say, who are only committing a misdemeanor).
"But if I see a deportee from the Mara Salvatrucha [Salvadoran prison] gang crossing the street, I know I can't touch him," laments a Los Angeles gang officer. Only if the deported felon has given the officer some other reason to stop him, such as an observed narcotics sale, can the cop accost him-but not for the immigration felony.
Though such a policy puts the community at risk, the department's top brass brush off such concerns. No big deal if you see deported gangbangers back on the streets, they say. Just put them under surveillance for "real" crimes and arrest them for those. But surveillance is very manpower-intensive. Where there is an immediate ground for getting a violent felon off the street and for questioning him further, it is absurd to demand that the woefully understaffed LAPD ignore it.
Secure Communities is particularly important, then, in fighting illegal alien crime, which is out of control. Reported Mac Donald, "In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens."
Mac Donald's figures are a few years old, but they explain the concerns of cops who worry more about crime than the rights of illegal aliens.
Sheriff Supports Secure Communities
The Los Angeles County Sheriff, Lee Baca, supports Secure Communities, as he wrote in an op-ed piece for the Times. Wrote Baca:
Consider the following case: In January, a local police agency arrested a man for driving with a suspended license. A subsequent fingerprint screening revealed that he was also a convicted felon illegally in the United States from Mexico. His record included three prior drug trafficking convictions and six deportations in 11 years.Baca argues that concerns about non-criminal illegals being deported, as if that ought to be a concern, given that they shouldn't be here anyway, are misplaced. Secure Communities, he argues, is a success.
Or consider this one: Recently, a 32-year-old man was booked into the Los Angeles County Jail on DUI charges. His fingerprints revealed not only that he was in the United States illegally but that he had previously been deported after his conviction for killing a child in 1997.
Both men were identified through the Secure Communities program.
Light to be shone on Australia's illegal immigration mess
LABOR'S immigration regime will be scrutinised as part of a formal inquiry into the detention network, with the Greens and crossbenchers indicating they support a Coalition-led review.
As another boatload of asylum-seekers was intercepted off Ashmore Reef yesterday, the opposition motion for a "warts and all" examination into detention received its strongest support yet.
The Greens backflipped on previous statements the review would simply be a political "witch-hunt" after securing concessions from the Coalition.
After a week of negotiations with the Greens and crossbenchers, opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison yesterday amended the terms of reference of his inquiry to address concerns by both groups -- including closer scrutiny of the system of mandatory detention.
"Over the last several years, we have seen a litany of chaos and abuse and cost blowouts in this sector which defy imagination . . . and a failure by this party to address policy failures," Mr Morrison said. "No member should be muzzled in seeking to ask the questions and get the answers they deserve in this sector."
Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent Andrew Wilkie voiced support for the inquiry yesterday. Independent Bob Katter and West Australian National Tony Crook are expected to vote for the motion when debate resumes next parliamentary sitting.
Mr Bandt said he welcomed the inquiry but wanted to see the upper and lower houses involved. "It is clear, for reasons other members have pointed out, that mandatory detention has failed and anything we can do to shed light on the issue is something I would welcome," Mr Bandt said. "I hope it is treated as a serious issue and for that reason I would like to see it take the form of a joint select committee."
Mr Wilkie labelled mandatory detention "cruel and inhumane" and said the government could not "keep kidding itself that its policy is working". "I trust the inquiry will not be a political circus but instead the first step to Australia adopting a more humane and effective approach," Mr Wilkie said.
Mr Bandt yesterday secured support from the opposition for a Greens motion condemning the proposed five-for-one asylum-seeker swap with Malaysia.
The motion passed through the Senate last sitting and if successful in the House of Representatives, it will be the first time in the new parliament both houses have condemned a government policy. "The deal is a rushed political fix designed to paper over the government's mandatory detention policy," Mr Bandt said. "My decision to put forward this motion and use the word 'condemn' has not been taken lightly," he said.
Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor yesterday confirmed the interception of the 25th asylum-seeker vessel to arrive this year.