Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Let Me In, Immigration Man

The Crosby, Stills and Nash tune is certainly outdated. It seems that our porous borders are letting anyone imaginable in to the country. Now I am not one to eschew immigration and being only a fourth generation descendant of immigrants myself I am not too far removed from the occasion where I can see why poor people living in a poor country want and need to come here. If there were to be one segment of my characterized as liberal it would be my attitude to immigration. Nonetheless, the law is the law and from time to time we run into a person who pops up on the computer during a street encounter that the Federal Government has an interest in deporting. Or do they?

Case in point, some weeks ago one of my men encountered a fellow depositing construction debris in a dumpster which he was not entitled to use. Not a capital offense by any stretch of the imagination. Just after issuing him a summons and kicking him loose there was a "late hit" on the in car computer that indicated that the Immigration folks had an interest in deporting him. Following procedure, I called the toll free number and spoke to a fellow in a control center in Burlington, Vermont. I explained that we had a guy on a stop and there was an active deportation order and I wanted to know how to proceed. His response was to question as to if we had him in custody. I responded no and he told me that they were not interested. I asked if they would like the address where the subject resided so they could come and scoop him up. He explained to me that unless the subject was in our custody and would be charged with a crime they would do nothing to enforce the order. H explained that these were the rules of engagement that the Immigration Officers had to operate under. After contemplating this absurdity for a moment or two I terminated the call and made some "alternative arrangements" that effected the removal of this fellow the following day. But the point is, if we have reams of immigration law and aren't going to enforce it maybe its time to rethink the policy one way or another. If not its kind of like having a law on the books requiring all drivers to have gloves in the glove box.

And now, a musical interlude.

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