(noon – promoted by ek hornbeck)
I know there are a lot of my fellow citizens who have little sympathy for the struggles of undocumented workers in the United States.
I’ve heard all the arguments, the fears, the anger, and the confusion.
This essay is not intended to address any of that. Whatever anyone feels about folks coming in to the United States illegally is something I will be happy to discuss at another time, in another essay.
Right now we have legislation pending written to treat immigration as a local law enforcement problem.
I got an email from Congress.org talking about the Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga) sponsored S2717:
[The] Effective Immigration Enforcement Partnerships Act of 2008. The purpose of this bill is to provide local governments and law enforcement the resources, training, and authority to enforce U.S. immigration law at the local level. According to his website, aspects of the bill include:
• “Clarifying their authority to enforce federal immigration laws during their normal course of duty”
• “Expanding the 287(g) program to every state.” Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes state and local police to perform enforcement duties related to illegal immigration
• “Offering a basic training course for all state and local law enforcement officers”
• “Compensating state and local entities for immigration enforcement related expenses”
If you go to Congress.org, you will see an option to have your say over this bill, whether you agree it should be passed or disagree and wish to let your representatives know you think this bill should not be passed.
Here is the email I wrote in response to all my representatives as well as the AG:
I strongly urge you not to vote for this legislation (S2717).
Our problems with immigration lie far more in bad laws and a system that does not work smoothly. To treat this as a law enforcement problem will solve nothing and be bad for communities and families.
This isn’t a matter of chasing after hardened criminals who mean to do
harm, so this kind of cops and robbers enforcement will do nothing except ruin our communities.
Please vote against this legislation. Thank you very much.
I wonder what kind of society we are turning into here in the United States. We make preemptive war on countries who do not attack us. We torture people. We have more folks in prison than any other nation. Think about that – we have the largest prison population in the world.
I wonder what kind of society can survive when our laws, both international and domestic, are geared towards brutal enforcement with never a notion that always making war, always playing cops and robbers leads to the ever increasing need to continue to make war, continue to use aggression as the sole solution to every problem.
There have been many diaries here that speak to how we can have a comprehensive immigration policy, a progressive policy that deals with root causes and delivers real fairness both to undocumented workers and US citizens, that addresses labor issues and infrastructure issues.
No domestic problem will be solved by force alone. I think we have seen the results of that kind of thinking, both in our policies abroad and here domestically. The only reason that legislation like this is being put forth is purely political … the Republicans and Blue Dog Dems who favor this are not interested in the real problems we face here in the US when it comes to jobs, health care, education, and our crumbling infrastructure. They just hope to ram this legislation through without our noticing what they are doing. I hope we won’t allow that to happen.
I don’t think local law enforcement should be used to hunt down and arrest undocumented workers and I don’t think cronies of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney should be making huge profits off building detention centers as provided for in the egregious SAVE Act, as diaried here and here. I believe if anyone thinks about this for even a moment, the bad effects of these kinds of legislation will be clear – how this will affect communities, how folks report crimes, the endless list of abuses that can flow from treating undocumented workers like dangerous criminals. The only ones who will profit from these kinds of legislation are corporations like Halliburton and KBR who build the detention centers, virtual family prisons, and who profit from the suffering of others.
If this is the best we can do to solve problems, then I think it’s a sad day for America, and a sad day for all hope of real freedom, justice, and liberty for all.