Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Gregoire on I.C.E.

Posted by Warren Peterson on December 2, 2010

See The Seattle Times, 12/31/2008: “Gregoire favors deportations as way to cut state’s jail costs”.

Two years ago, Governor Gregoire, finally concerned about the budget deficit, suggested deporting prisoners convicted of drug or property crimes to save the state over $9 million dollars biennially. The program is similar to one used in – take a deep breath – Arizona and New York. Needless to say, the Legislature with such defenders of immigrant rights as Senator Margarita Prentice, D-Renton in control, failed to approve the program for Washington State.

See The Seattle Times, 11/28/2010: “State won’t agree to national immigration program”.

By 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be able to implement a program nationwide called “Secure Communities” to check finger prints of anyone serving jail time against a national immigration data base. Currently, ICE is seeking agreements with state and local governments to install the program now but is meeting resistance from the State of Washington and so called sanctuary cities like San Francisco. Not only has the State Patrol refused any agreement with ICE but the state has also “not granted permission for ICE to work with local jurisdictions to activate the program.” While Gregoire has not taken a public position, the Patrol thinks she is “of the same mind” on the issue.

Opponents of “Secure Communities” object to state and local police agencies getting involved in enforcement of Federal immigration law but as “Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR)” pointed out; these same agencies do cooperate with the Feds when it comes to drugs and firearms. Hypocrisy aside, the concern is that people here illegally would be reluctant to report a crime for fear they might be ensnared in deportation proceedings unrelated to the crime. Apparently, we should allow our immigration laws to be ignored because some other crime, not witnessed by a citizen, may not be reported. Another argument of the pro “undocumented” immigrants is they work hard and pay taxes. Of course they also got here by breaking the law, in many case using forged identity documents. Once described as “doing the work Americans won’t do”, more and more illegals are competing for jobs U.S. citizens are willing to do, just look at the construction industry.

None of this resolves the problems caused by decades of boarder enforcement neglect by the Federal government. It is merely snipping around the edges but it is a start. What to do about illegal aliens, who have been here for many years, have integrated into the community, have children who have known no other country or language must be addressed. Rounding up ten to twelve million illegal aliens is simply not practical but finding out who they are, deporting convicted criminals, securing the borders, providing for some penalty for at least the adults seems reasonable. Unreasonable is coming down on Arizona for acting to protect its citizens while winking at Washington’s politically correct flouting of the law.

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