Jewish World Review Jan. 14, 2004 / 20 Teves, 5764
Sanctuary laws embolden criminals
Walter Alexander Sorto, 25, an illegal immigrant, had received several
traffic tickets from Houston police in the months before he and another
illegal immigrant raped and murdered three women.
Had police inquired into Sorto's immigration status when they made the
traffic stops, they could have prevented the murders. But Houston - like Los
Angeles, New York and many other cities with large immigrant populations -
has a "sanctuary" law. Cops are forbidden to ask a suspect's immigration
status, and may not detain someone solely on the belief that he is in the
Sorto's case is by no means rare. In Los Angeles, nearly two thirds of all
felony warrants - 95 percent of homicide warrants - are for illegal aliens.
Illegals now comprise a quarter of the federal prison population.
Those the news media deem "expert" estimate there are between 7 million and
13 million people in the United States illegally.
If the low end estimate is correct, there are more illegal immigrants here
than there are people in Indiana. At the high end, we have more illegals
than there are people in Pennsylvania. The difference between the low end
and high end estimates is more than the population of Minnesota.
A fundamental duty of a nation state is to protect its borders. For half a
century, Democratic and Republican presidents, Democratic and Republican
congresses have failed to perform it.
Illegal immigration is unpopular even with legal immigrants from Mexico. So
why have politicians shirked their duty for so long?
Farmers and business owners like cheap labor. Rich people like cheap
domestic servants. Relations with Mexico go smoother when Mexican
governments are permitted to export a significant portion of their
unemployment problem. Democrats like to pad voter rolls with illegals.
Spending for the Border Patrol and the Immigration and Naturalization
Service has been a low priority. The senior management of the INS has been
In a must read article in the current edition of the Manhattan Institute's
City Journal, Heather Macdonald blames the failure to crack down on illegals
who commit violent crimes on the power of immigrant lobby groups and
"We can't even talk about it," a captain in the Los Angeles police
department told MacDonald. "People are afraid of a backlash from Hispanics."
The huge number of illegals in this country also suggests that our quotas on
legal residence are ridiculously low. The vast majority of illegals are
gainfully employed. This indicates that our laws do not reflect our
economy's need for imported labor.
President Bush has proposed resolving the dilemma by creating a massive
"guest worker" program. If after a good faith effort to find Americans to
fill job vacancies has failed, businesses would be permitted to h
workers - here on renewable 3 year permits - to fill them.
Bush's plan has been attacked by liberals who want full amnesty for
illegals, and by conservatives who call his plan amnesty in disguise.
Bush's critics don't live in the real world. Liberals would make our most
serious domestic problem worse. Conservatives either ignore it, or propose
preposterous "solutions." We have neither the manpower nor the political
will to round up and deport all who are here illegally, and we'd clobber our
economy if we tried.
Bush's plan is half of a realistic solution. But it needs to be coupled with
a serious effort to protect our borders from further waves of illegal
immigration, and to separate those illegals who came here to work from those
who came here to obtain welfare, or to commit crimes.
The Border Patrol and the INS need to be expanded substantially, and once a
guest worker program has been established, there must be severe penalties
for employers who hire illegals, and those laws should be vigorously
A special court needs to be established to expedite deportations.
Immigration attorneys no longer should be permitted to drag out the
proceedings for years.
Most important, local police should be empowered to enforce immigration law,
not required to ignore it. We cannot prevent illegal immigration - or any
other illegal activity - if we do not enforce the law.
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
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