Nik Steinberg wrote a heck of an editorial in The Christian Science Monitor and the sheer logic of it should have the feds blushing. Here's a few choice excerpts...
- "Imagine living in a state where local cops can stop anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally, and arrest them if they lack proof of citizenship. Last month, Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri signed an executive order directing state police to enforce federal immigration law, which will let them do just that."
- "such laws make communities less safe by discouraging immigrants from cooperating with local police. Police depend on residents to report crimes and identify criminals. But when immigrants fear that talking to officers may lead to their deportation, they remain quiet."
- "Proponents of reforms like Rhode Island's argue that immigrants bring more crime to neighborhoods. They are wrong. Evidence overwhelmingly shows that immigrants - documented or not - commit less crime than US natives. The erosion of public trust is not just bad for immigrants; it is bad for whole neighborhoods."
The fundamental sign of a weak society is when the government breeds a culture of snitching. Consider Cuba, where the Castros have maintained authority through the use of the "CDRs", the Comite de la Defensa de la Revolucion". The concept is simple: deputize another and task him with your job while puffing him up with self-importance. In Cuba, there are thousands rotting in prison as the result of a wisecrack overheard by the old man in the next apartment who happens to be the local CDR guy. Such power is Napoleonic and I have seen it time and again in the infantile decisionmaking of first tour junior consular officers more self-obsessed with authority than infused with a sense of justice. It's ugly and it brings out the Barney Fife in all of us.
Last week, we looked at employers covertly setting up the arrest of their employees in a panicked attempt to detach themselves from potential liability. Today we look at the notion of delegating federal immigration powers to local police.
Does anyone in Washington remember this thing called The Constitution or am I dreaming??