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  • Illegal Aliens: Your Hearing Is Apparently Optional

       April 13, 2005

    Well, it's an Immigration Twofer.

    I think this deserves story of the day status:

    11 illegal aliens caught, then released in Fairfax.

    OK, so the police stop a van with 11 illegal aliens in it (11!!!!). They are breaking the law. What do they do? They are released by the Federal government which is responsible for enforcing immigration law:

    Federal authorities released 11 illegal aliens who were detained during a traffic stop in Annandale because immigration officials said they did not pose a threat to the public.

    "The 11 passengers were processed and released," said Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. "There were children involved, so it was better that we released them."

    Authorities ordered the 11 Mexican nationals, three of whom are children, to return to immigration offices tomorrow for further processing.

    OK, well that's interesting. I guess we're keeping tabs on them in the meantime, right?
    Ms. Fobbs said officials do not know where the illegals are in the meantime.

    Oh. Well, what if they don't show up?
    "It's up to them whether they come back," she said. "If they do not, they will be considered fugitives, and once we do encounter them again, they'll be removed from the United States. They stand to lose a lot if they do not appear."

    Huh. It's "up to them" to appear? I'll keep that in mind the next time some Federal agency wants me to do something.

    Incidentally Ms. Fobbs, considering where these 11 people came from I think they have even more to lose by showing up....

    Posted by John Tant at April 13, 2005 08:07 AM

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    #  April 13th, 2005 10:03 AM      james
    unless you're remanded to custody of the state, it's always up to whether you appear. if you don't appear, you'll be considered a fugitive, and will be arrested the next time the authorities encounter you. it's really no different.  
    #  April 13th, 2005 10:15 AM      JohnTant
    James, I think the difference is with a US citizen, they have a pretty good idea where to find you and can come and get you.  
    #  April 13th, 2005 11:33 AM      james
    oh, i know, i was just pointing out that letting non-violent criminals go isn't really out of line with the standard practice. we have a whole industry of bail bondsmen and bounty hunters because people aren't always that easy to find. your position is that illegal immigration should be treated differently, that they should be locked up and immediately deported. but what if there are children involved?

    you say, either here or in the other thread, something along the lines of "it's called illegal immigration, and it's illegal." (i think that was you, anyway... i could be wrong.) this is going to sound very left wing, but i just dont think it's that big of a deal. yes, we want to keep the bad guys out, and yes, i know that we can't fit everyone into america. but i just can't fault someone for wanting to work for a living so bad that they risk everything to come here "illegally" and live in constant fear of being caught. these people often leave family behind and work long hours so they can send money back to relatives that they may never see again. as long as they're law abiding, i can't say that they've done anything morally wrong. that we have problems providing social services to illegals is a real problem, but not one that i think is solved by deporting people that only want an opportunity. this is america.  
    #  April 13th, 2005 12:18 PM      JohnTant
    James, I get your point (yeah, I really do!), but tolerating illegal behavior on the basis of it being done to get a better life just doesn't help me much. I mean, how about a guy stealing from someone's business because he can't afford to buy bread? Sure it's hard to fault someone for doing that too, but that doesn't make theft any more illegal. And yes, I know I'm coming across almost like a Javert-type here but when you get down to it...illegal aliens by definition are NOT law-abiding. They broke the law by sneaking into the country.

    I don't know that I would cast illegal immigration as morally equivalent to other crimes, such that locking them up and deporting them as we find them would be considered treating them differently. Instead, it just seems to be a due diligence-type thing to me.  
    #  April 13th, 2005 12:48 PM      james
    heh, i like the photo that zeke found over at his place

    hmmm, i see that trackbacks are still a little screwy... if i replace the trackback system from MT with the one that i wrote for the links page, i honestly don't know what the point if even keeping MT as a base anymore is... other than it generates archives and the like  
    #  April 13th, 2005 1:18 PM      james
    to answer your question, john, i just dont think theft of bread and illegal entry are crimes of the same ilk. however sympathetic i am to the thief stealing to feed his family, i guess i put theft on a different moral plane.

    but can't an argument be made that we have programs like unemployment and welfare and soup kitchens so that people don't have to commit crimes in order to provide for their family? along that same rationale, shouldn't we adjust the legal system such that illegals don't have to keep breaking the law to do the same?

    enforcing laws against illegal entry is necessary and desireable for a host of reasons, i understand that. but the fact remains that no matter what protections are put in to place, people will still break the law to provide for their families. they will keep stealing loaves of bread until their family is no longer hungry.

    this isnt a matter of providing people with a different set of opportunities - i.e. it's not a matter of policing entry from Canada, a country with a stable economy. In Canada, people have opportunites. Isn't denying someone any opportunities at all based on where they were born akin to a caste system?

    speaking of where people are born, what about those illegal parents who have children born in the US? their kids are US citizens. are we to deport their parents and keep their kids here? or kick the kids out of the US with the parents? perhaps we can retroactively take citizenship away from them, based on the fact that their parents came here ilegally - what a can of worms that would open up.

    we let cubans who make it to US soil stay and we even set them up with housing and assistance. maybe the best thing for mexican citizens to do is to support a communist revolution, perhaps allowing china to place missiles on the baja peninsula? i'm not trying to be a smart ass, im just saying that countries in need tend to accept help from wherever it comes. building a wall across the rio grande and enacting hard-line immigration policies will only alienate a mexican government that has already started distributing care packages for those looking to cross into the US.

    (believe me, it's not lost on me that i sound like the looney appeasement loving liberals here.)

    it's a situation that doesn't have an easy solution. many people, i.e. michael savage, have charged that "neither party is policing the border b/c they want the votes of immigrants." i just don't think that's true. as i see it, the only solution to this problem is to help mexico provide opportunities to its citizens. in other words, i don't know the solution to this problem, but i have to think that it must be economic in nature.  
    #  April 13th, 2005 2:05 PM      JohnTant
    Well, to me the idea of nixing illegal immigration by making it legal rankles me a bit. Adjusting the legal system to accomodate illegals seems to be to be about the same thing.

    Also, if the idea is to provide an avenue in which Mexico can receive our help to prosper, why not just accomplish that with direct trade? Why do we have to do it via adjusting our legal system? I would love to see a prosperous Mexico. Seriously. But I'm not sure just how far I'm willing to go to help it become a reality. As for Cuba...well, it's Cuba. There's a reasonable case that Cuban refugees are fleeing political persecution. Plus, most Cubans are coming here to actually be a part of the assimilate, and all the things that go with it. I don't think they're looking to come here as a meal ticket.

    On the children issue, isn't the core law on citizenship a little vague anyway? I mean, I know the Constitution has been interpreted as saying if you're born on US soil you're a citizen...but isn't that a matter of interpretation instead of a flat out plain-language thing?

    You're right, it's a complex issue that does not have a panacea. But just because there isn't a cure all doesn't mean there is no cure at all.  
    #  April 15th, 2005 1:22 AM      prying1
    To heck with it. Why have any laws. James says it right. There is no way we can enforce any of the laws because people will not like them and break them. Better we just suspend all laws. Send the cops home and just put up with anarchy. It would be easier.

    This way too the immigration authorities won't have to sit around their offices in the morning waiting for the 11 illegals to show up...  
    #  April 15th, 2005 7:38 AM      Laura
    James, I've been thinking about what you said
    but can't an argument be made that we have programs like unemployment and welfare and soup kitchens so that people don't have to commit crimes in order to provide for their family? along that same rationale, shouldn't we adjust the legal system such that illegals don't have to keep breaking the law to do the same?
    That doesn't seem like an apples to apples comparison to me. Programs like welfare aren't equivalent to ignoring or striking down laws that protect our border. A more equivalent comparison would be welfare = NAFTA or other trade programs with Mexico.

    Mexico has a wealth of resources, including a lot of oil - why are we buying oil from the middle east? seems like it would be a lot cheaper to get it from Mexico because if nothing else it has less distance to travel to get it here - but corruption is sucking the life out of the economy. I don't have a lot of ideas on how Americans can discourage corruption in Mexico; it seems like that is more within the purview of Mexicans who are fed up with it.  
    #  April 15th, 2005 6:12 PM      james
    im not in any way advocating that we just do away with the borders, y'all know.

    laura, i see where you're coming from, that welfare=nafta, but i didn't intend that interpretation of the simile. i meant it more like this: if someone is starving, and there is absolutely no other way for him to nourish himself, and if his neighbor has a full garden, i don't blame him for stealing, and not only do i not blame him, i don't think that he did anything wrong. any law that says "nope, you should have chosen to die of starvation instead of stealing" is an unjust law that shouldn't be obeyed.

    if we didn't have wefare, we'd have a lot more theft. it's the law's way of recognizing "yes, you are are, you have a god-given right to eat."

    (and here, there isnt even realy stealing anyway, so it's more like sneaking onto your neighbors land to grow your own tomoato plants for sustinence when your land is too barren to support plant life.)

    it's one thing to get tough on illegal immigration, and to police the borders. I'm all for that. But it's quite another to get tough on illegal immigrants - that i don't support. imagine a law that says "Legal immigrants can live an work in the US, but they aren't allowed to wear glasses." should legal immigrants then be forced to walk around blurry eyed because of an arbitrary law created by man? sure, people will say "but we only have so many eyeglasses to go around, we can't afford a shortage," "letting them wear eyeglasses will take eyeglasses away from american citizens," "some terrorists have been known to use eyeglasses to build spy telescopes, so the law is necessary for national security." it's all hogwash.

    since a) people really want to come here and b) we can't stop them, no matter how much money we spend, c) our money is much better spent addressing a, not b. that's all im saying.

    #  April 16th, 2005 11:11 AM      Laura
    Here's the thing: my opposition to illegal immigration is because it is the stated policy of our "neighbor" Mexico to merge with the US and Canada into a supranational entity like the EU. Immigration is Vincente Fox's wedge to make that happen. Mexico is not too barren to grow food. It is a country rich in resources who refuses to get it's act together socially/politically because they have a completely different goal.

    While I am sympathetic to Mexicans living in poverty, since a lot of the poverty, especially post-NAFTA, is caused by corruption, I would like them to clean up their own country. The WaPO article I linked to earlier is a good example of what's wrong with Mexico and why people are poor. The result of corruption is that they come here and drain our system. The benefits of cheap labor are offset by the drain on society.

    California and Arizona are great examples of what large, unassimilated populations of foreigners are doing to America. The pdf I linked to earlier is a report by a doctor - aside from the diseases that unscreened illegals are bringing in, the drain on the system is such that 84 hospitals in California are closing. Similar events are going on in Arizona. Schools are spending resources on bilingual education. Social services are given to non-citizens. Non-citizens are counted in our census and they are voting.

    I'm not claiming to have all the answers here, and I'm not so heartless that I haven't got sympathy for people who are hungry. Policing the borders means that people trapped in Mexico will be hungry. But I don't know what else we can do. We've forgiven debt, given cash, and ramped up trade with Mexico. To use your garden analogy, we donated seeds and fertilizer and helped plant, but they refuse to weed and harvest their own garden. At what point do we finally get to say buena suerte y vaya con Dios?

    Again, Mexico in the person of Vincente Fox and his appointed officials is refusing to help his own people because he wants to merge with the US. This is an attack on our sovereignty. The average Mexican may not see it that way, but that is the result.  
    #  April 16th, 2005 11:35 AM      Laura
    One other thing; we *can* stop them. We haven't made a serious effort to do so. Vincente Fox does a good job of policing *his* southern border. We could do the same if we had the political will to get the job done.  



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